Unfortunately nothing new to report. The lake had a little more snow last week and it is also suffering (unusually) from pressure ridges. As the ice expands and contracts, it cracks and can leave either open water or protruding ice – both potentially very dangerous for ice boats. One of the reasons we chose Canyon Ferry was its history of large open areas without pressure ridges, but this year is a little different with some new, and difficult, ridges. This could be explained by the reservoir being unusually full, or just the water level management by the hydro electric dam at the end of the lake, I’m not sure.
However, the result is a considerably smaller sailing area than we normally have and a rough surface with many drifts. John Cassidy, a fellow iceboater who lives in Helena and took a flight over the lake last week, took some pictures. As you can see, if the drifts look significant from 2000+ ft, they are very big when standing on the ice!
Many thanks to John, Dale, Lance, Dave and all the other local Montana ice sailors who are keeping me up-to-date as conditions change. Somehow, I now seem to have a job and a 5 month-old baby, so can no longer spend extended periods of time sitting by the lake drinking beer, waiting for the conditions to improve!
We will remain on standby for the entire ice season, ready to take advantage of any good ice as it appears. As always, all ice reports always gratefully received.