Strap on the skates because this might be the best year for wild ice ever in Minnesota.

First of all, what is "wild ice"? It is also referred to as Backcountry skating and is basically ice that forms on a lake. Super simple, but the conditions for it aren't always as perfect as they have been this year.

An early cold in October and little snowfall has made for some truly next-level ice skating conditions, especially in Northern Minnesota. The light winds have also made it so the ice being formed is super smooth. Ideal for strapping on the skates and going for a glide.

But caution is key. Wild Ice is called "wild" for a reason because ice thickness can vary at any point of a body of water. Cook County shared a warning on its Facebook page:

There is nothing more spectacular than wild ice. But it is exactly that, “wild.” It can be glorious, wicked, dangerous and magical all at the same time. Safety is not guaranteed. Before following any tracks out on to the ice, know the risks and have a safety plan.

The Minnesota DNR recommends only venturing out on ice that is 4” or more thick, and to always check the ice your self, don't just trust someone telling you that the ice is thick enough. They have a whole page on their website detailing ice safety.

No ice is ever 100% safe. If you are out on Wild Ice this season, I found this super helpful TikTok account giving lessons on ice safety that might come in handy if you are a visual learner:

@laura.kottlowskiIce Safety Lesson: Using Ice Awls/Picks — Return to & get out where you skated from, as it was once holding your weight ##wildice ##iceskating♬ original sound - Laura Kottlowski

@laura.kottlowski Wild Ice Safety For Ice Skating: Using ice awls/picks pt.2 (more safety vids in feed!) ##wildice ##iceskating ##icesafety ♬ original sound - Laura Kottlowski

@laura.kottlowskiChecking Wild Ice for Ice Skating: Find a super round rock the size of two fists and lob it up 2 stories, watch & listen... ##wildice ##icesafety

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