Parks Chief: Despite Recent Cold, Pond Skating Unlikely This Winter

First night of ice skating at Mead Pond Feb 18 2015

Uploaded by Michael Dinan on 2015-02-19.

After sustained cold last winter delivered New Canaan’s first ice skating season on Mead Pond in six years, officials say—despite recent lower temperatures—the prospect of repeating that cherished town tradition is unlikely. A few cold nights have helped cool down the water and some ice has formed on the pond, “but it’s a long, long ways from what we need to have skating out there,” said John Howe, parks superintendent in the New Canaan Department of Public Works. “Extended cold weather would help, especially if it stays dry, and if it stays below freezing all day you can develop up to an inch of ice a day. But that would be the maximum, so even if we got cold today, you are talking about a minimum of a [full] week and unfortunately, I don’t see that happening.”

Scores of New Canaanites headed to Mead Pond last February to ice skate and play hockey, including under the lights after dark—at one time a regular annual tradition that changed more than a dozen years ago when the town changed insurers and a full six inches of ice was required to green light it. Many attribute changes in temperature patterns—specifically, suddenly warmish, 40-degree days in the midst of a cold spell—with preventing the ponds from freezing over.

Town Opens Ice Skating at Mead Pond [PHOTOS, VIDEO]

First night of ice skating at Mead Pond Feb 18 2015
Town parks officials plan on Wednesday afternoon opened Mead Pond for ice skating, restoring a longstanding town tradition that’s been absent for six years. With ice more than 10 inches thick on the pond, the Department of Public Works went over the surface with a snowplow late in the morning, blew extra snow off of the ice around lunchtime and then opened the pond, keeping it going under lights through 10 p.m., Parks Superintendent John Howe. The DPW will check ice thickness each day, he said. Recreation Director Steve Benko said the difficulty in the past has been that sustained cold such as New Canaan has seen these past few weeks has been interspersed with rainy or warmer days. “We never get a chance to get it done, but it seems now like we have a little time,” Benko said.

Mallozzi: ‘Iconic’ New Canaan Pond Skating Missing This Winter


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Though we’ve seen one of the harshest winters in memory—with plenty of freezing temperatures—New Canaan is missing one of its “iconic” pastimes, the town’s highest elected official said. First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said he remembers skating on Mead and Mill Ponds as a child, teen and with his own kids. Yet this year “it just isn’t happening,” Mallozzi told New Canaanite. The first selectman offers up one possible reason: The tons of salt that road crews use to make sure motorists can get around town as quickly as possible.