PHOTO GALLERY: Stephens Lake fit for ice skaters

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 | 5:58 p.m. CST
The ice was thick enough at Stephens Lake Park for ice skating, according to the Columbia Parks and Recreation website Wednesday.

COLUMBIA — A few local skaters have found the bright side to the extreme cold in recent days.

When there is at least 4 inches of solid ice at Stephens Lake Park, the city may open the lake for ice skating — and it did this week.

Peter Pivovarov was skating on Stephens Lake on Tuesday. Missouri winters are warmer than in his native Alberta, but "this year, I'm actually pretty impressed," he said.

Ice depth is checked by drilling holes at several locations beginning from the shoreline and working toward the center, according to the city Parks and Recreation website.

On its website, Parks and Recreation offers several safety tips for ice skaters, including not skating alone or after dark and watching out for slush or ice covered in snow. The website also notes that ice that is determined safe for skating one day might not be safe the next day, so officials advise skaters to refer to signs posted at the lake to find out when it is open for skating and to check the department's home page for updates on ice conditions.

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