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Alaskan skaters experience rare ‘ice window’ on alpine lakes

Nov 21


Skaters in Alaska recently enjoyed a unique experience on Rabbit Lake, where a rare “ice window” formed on frozen alpine lakes. The ice window allowed skaters to witness the lake’s crystal-clear depths, revealing massive boulders and fascinating topography beneath the frozen surface.

Luc Mehl, an outdoor educator and certified ice rescue instructor, shared his encounter.

“The combination of being able to look down three or four meters and see what’s on the bottom, I’ve never experienced that in the 12 years that I’ve been doing this,” Mehl said. “It reminded me of snorkeling more than any other activity that I’ve done.”

However, the fleeting nature of the phenomenon soon became apparent to Mehl.

“It’s gone,” Mehl said. “Yeah, that window lasted about one week, and now we’ve got two feet, 50 centimeters of snow over everything.

“Since it took 10 years, you know, maybe longer, for those conditions to present this year, I think it might be another decade before we get to see something like that again.”

The skaters traversed the frozen landscape as Mehl stressed the importance of safety measures.

“We go out and test the ice’s strength before we get on it,” he said. “What we’re looking for is about four inches. That’s a nice strong ice that’s appropriate for people to go out on and skate.”

Despite the dangers associated with such activities, the skaters equipped themselves with ice picks and ropes as safety precautions.

“Yeah, it is dangerous,” Mehl said. “Some people even did fall through during that week here, and there weren’t any problems. But that’s my concern, if anything like this goes viral—I hope that doesn’t mislead people.”

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