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Lake Ice & Outdoor Skating

Throughout winter, the Snow/Maintenance Foreman assesses the ice conditions once a week in the designated skating areas at Henderson Lake, Nicholas Sheran Lake and Chinook Lake using the following criteria:

  • The presence of standing water or open water
  • The amount of freezing that has occurred
  • Snow cover
  • Present thickness of the ice
  • Present condition of the ice
  • Present clarity of the ice
  • Air temperature

Once an assessment has been made from the information gathered, the Snow/Maintenance Foreman will share the information and declare if the lake ice meets the standards for public use. This information is shared in the News Centre, on our website as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Because the ice is not always clear blue, calculations for ice thickness is done by this formula:



Here are the current ice conditions for the designated skating areas at Chinook, Henderson and Nicholas Sheran Lakes.

Lake Thickness Condition Rating
Chinook Lake Average ice thickness: 10.5 inches and snow covered. Poor Does not meet City of Lethbridge standards for public use
Henderson Lake Average ice thickness: 9.5 inches and snow covered. Poor
Does not meet City of Lethbridge standards for public use
Nicholas Sheran Lake Average ice thickness: No ice measurement taken due to construction. Poor
Does not meet City of Lethbridge standards for public use
Most recent update: February 16, 2018.
If you have questions about lake ice please call the Lake Ice Line: 403-320-4974. 

Lake Ice in Lethbridge

The condition, strength and stability of ice can change dramatically depending on temperature, precipitation, wind and the amount of sunshine.

Unique weather variables such as frequent Chinook winds that can see air temperature going above freezing for six hours over a 24 hour period can cause ice to lose strength and stability.

Chinook winds bring warmer temperatures that can quickly affect the melting rate for ice along the shore and near bridges which can lead to open water. As well, following a Chinook, a rapid, large temperature drop can make ice brittle.

Storm Ponds

Storm pond water/ice contact is prohibited. Ice on storm ponds is not monitored by the City.

It is dangerous to walk, play or skate on any ice surface that has areas of open water. Water entering storm ponds can contain impurities and is warmer in temperature, which can contribute to unstable and unpredictable ice conditions. Water levels in storm ponds can fluctuate, increasing the odds of air pockets.  Please stay off storm ponds at all times.

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is not permitted in designated skating areas.

Ice Safety

If you see someone fall through the ice call 911 immediately. Click here for additional ice safety tips including what to do if your pet goes onto unsafe ice and how to protect yourself around ice.