Factors affecting ice quality and pond ice rink availability
Ice is subject to variable freezing temperatures from above the ice and thawing conditions from below the ice due to water temperatures and sources of water. The color and quality of ice is another contributing factor when a decision to open the ponds is made. Snow is another contributing factor since it can act as an insulator and may begin to melt ice despite freezing temperatures. Removing snow from ice is a job best left to professional staff as attempting to shovel oneself often creates unstable ice conditions that become a safety concern.
Before the Wheaton Park District permits pond skating, there must be a minimum of 8” of solid ice. This is for the safety of our staff who maintains the ice as well as the skaters. When conditions are appropriate, ice depth is checked daily by drilling holes through the ice at several locations, beginning from the shoreline and working toward the center.
All ice is monitored daily to decide if it is safe to open for all patrons. The green flags indicate if a pond is safe for skating. The red flags signify when a pond is closed. The signage and flags are up for your safety and are enforced by local law. Ice fishing is only permitted at Elliot Lake and it is monitored as well.