Sunday, February 3, 2013

February 3, 2013

Winter fun on frozen water!

The big event in Meredith this weekend was the New England Pond Hockey Classic.  This annual tournament includes 200 teams from every New England state, as well as teams from as far away as Canada, Washington DC - even Florida - and the weather was just about perfect for them.  The frigid weather of the prior week was broken with a 50 degree heat wave and heavy rain on Wednesday.  But just in time the cold weather returned, and the ice conditions on Meredith Bay were beautiful.  We visited the event on Saturday, and it was quite the scene.
2013 New England Pond Hockey Classic on Meredith Bay

20 hockey rinks back to back, with games in progress on each one,

Just of few of the 20 Rinks

except when the sweepers were out clearing a rink that had built up too many shavings.
Clearing the Ice between Games

There were people everywhere, some walking, some on skates;  food of all types being served for players and spectators, and of course, a beer tent (this is hockey after all).

There were cars and trucks and ATVs on the ice.
Back Side of the Food Court

A Plethora of Emergency Vehicles were on Hand

Even a helicopter made the show.
Close Air Support

It was definitely worth going down to see the all the action.  And the bay will be just as busy next weekend, as the ice rinks are taken over by fishermen for the Great Ice Fishing Derby - be sure to check that out if you're in the area.

Over at Lake Wicwas, the ice surface isn't quite as good, as there was snow cover on the lake before the warm weather and rain.  But the snow did saturate sufficiently that one can skate all over the lake, with large glass-smooth sections followed by some careful gliding over the bumpy spots in between. 
A Rare Skating Opportunity in February

A check on the ice thickness showed 12 inches - less than usual at this time of the year.

There was no hockey on Lake Wicwas, but the ice fishing is picking up.  There are half a dozen bob houses on the lake, with a small community growing between Bryant Island and Sheep Island, as well as in other locations on the lake.

Fishing Community between Bryant and Sheep Island

Not to be outdone by Lake Winnipesaukee, Lake Wicwas had its own air force this weekend, with an airplane bringing much needed supplies to the fishermen (more beer?).
The Wicwas Air Force

All this excitement and the derby is still a week away - I expect even more activity then.

And then there was this action taking place today:  Motorcycle Ice Racing!
Motorcycle Ice Racing on Wicwas!

A gang (that was the term they used!) set up a good size oval track right in front of the boat landing and was having a grand time. 

Their bikes are set up with some serious steel studs screwed into their tires.


After a few laps the course had to be scraped

before the next round could begin.


Here's a short video of the action.

video


There's no reason to be bored in New Hampshire in the winter!

I'll close with some quieter scenes that Jack Frost left on the windows this morning.




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