Ice Skating Outdoors Comes With Risks

Ice skating is a popular winter activity in the metro, but it is important to keep the risks in mind, most importantly, where it's safe to hit the ice outdoors.

There are a lot of places to go ice skating outdoors, whether it's an outdoor rink, lake, or pond.

Experts say if we select the natural options, there are risks.

Lake Manawa Park Ranger, Nicholas Rocca says drilling through the ice of a lake or a pond to check the depth is the safest way to go.

We should drill more holes as we change locations.

"You could have two inches of ice on one side, and then four to six in a different area," says Ranger Rocca.

Skating and ice fishing is allowed on Lake Manawa and other Iowa Lakes and ponds, but we have to use our own discretion.

Rocca says there's no established rule on how thick ice has to be for us to use it safely.

"Really there is no safe amount of ice. It's kind of your personal preference. Four inches of cloudy ice, or four inches of clear ice, there is no safe amount," says Rocca.

It's an issue so dangerous, the City of Omaha doesn't want to mess with it. At Hanscom Park, they don't allow ice fishing or ice skating.

However, it hasn't stopped some from taking the risk. We found evidence of people walking on the ice. The center of the lagoon was even shoveled out to create a makeshift skating rink. Again, these kinds of actions are all at our own risk.

However, there are safer skating options, like the ConAgra ice skating rink. If the ice cracks there, there's no danger underneath.

"You can't beat this for safety. Come out, have a good time, have some hot cocoa over there, see Santa, and all that good stuff," says Toran Billups, a skater visiting the ConAgra rink.

The ConAgra rink is a big fundraiser for Food Bank for the Heartland.

A five dollar donation gets you in with a free skate rental.

ConAgra is matching all donations up to $100,000.

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