Frozen lakes and rivers: be careful!

Our beautiful Laurentians are known for their lakes and rivers and Mont-Tremblant fits right into that picture. In winter, the stretches of ice allow for all kinds of fun, but be very careful before you venture out on it.

Early in the season, the ice thickness is not consistent across the water. Ice always forms first close to the banks or shores. You can take a chance, but the ice in the centre of the lake is usually less solid. Things are the opposite in springtime or during thaws. The ice at the edges thins faster than at the centre of the lakes.

The Police Department follows Canadian Red Cross recommendations regarding ice thickness for practising certain activities, namely:

  • 6 inches – 15 cm for walking or solo skating;
  • 8 inches – 20 cm for group skating or games;
  • 10 inches – 25 cm for snowmobiles.

What to do if the worst happens

If the ice gives way under your weight, the first thing to do is take ten seconds to relax and get over the temperature shock. It is critically important to control your breathing and calm yourself to avoid losing consciousness.

Then, use your legs rather than your arms to push yourself out of the water like a sea lion. Then roll, slither or crawl towards shore before standing up, so you don’t end up back in the water.

Several factors influence the formation of lake ice. Depth of the water, of course, and wind exposure, but also snow, which acts as a natural insulator and slows freezing. Be careful, because choosing Mont-Tremblant means choosing safety!


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Éric Cadotte51 Posts

Agent aux relations communautaires du Service de police de Mont-Tremblant, Éric Cadotte collabore par le biais de chroniques avec plusieurs médias de la région, dont la radio Cime FM et la télévision communautaire TVCL. / As community relations agent for the Mont-Tremblant Police Department, Éric Cadotte works via written and spoken columns with several regional media outlets, including CIME FM radio and TVCL community television.


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