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As the frost continues you may want to know when the ice is safe? Find our tips here.

The weather forecast announces frostfilled days and nights for at least the next week, so some of the frozen lakes and ponds around Denmark start to have thicker ice. BUT when is it safe and how do you find out if it is ?

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By Bente D.Knudsen

Unsafe lakes and ponds are an issue of course, but when the winter takes hold and frost remains for some weeks, as it seems it will in Denmark at least for a while, the Danish municipalites start to allow some of the lakes and ponds to be taken into use for leisure activites.

The way it is done is a bit the other way around. There are no signs saying the lake is safe, instead they will monitor the ice thickness and say if it is safe.

As a general rule, the public has to look for a ”the ice is safe sign”, in Danish:  Isen er sikker.

If there is no sign, it is not safe.

Measuring whether or not the ice is safe is the responsibility of the local municipality, the police do not measure – they are only responsible for enforcing the “stay off the ice” safety measures when people do not abide by the warnings.

Lakes and ponds are not safe until the ice reaches a thickness of 16-18 cm required before it is allowed to walk or ice skate on them.

At present they are at most around 9 to 10 cm thick and some are never safe enough due to undercurrents of warmer water beneath the ice, however, locally some ponds may be safe enough, for instance in the municipality of Furesø a  couple of ponds have been opened for ice skating. You can find their information here.

To find out if the lakes and ponds are open in your municipality try with the name of your municipality and  for instance isen er sikker,  or skøjteløb på frosne søer. When doing this for the municipality of Rudersdal  we got this link and here it was announced that the ice was not yet safe but the next measurement would be made on 10 February.

In the Municipality of Copenhagen they inform on their website that they measure the ice thickness three times a week when the night temperature has been below minus 5 degrees C for seven days in a row and they will start measuring in week 6 ( this week). Ice has to be at least 16 mm thick and is measured on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.

As the frost continues more will certainly open.

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It can be deadly not to respect the signs
The police recommend that you keep a lookout for the ”isen er sikker sign” and do not venture out on any frozen lakes, fjords or other until such sign has been put up.

It can be deadly not to abide by the public safety requirements.

Most municipalities actively encourage ice-skating as a great winter time leisure activity for their citizens, so they regularly monitor the state of the ice thickness and as soon as it is safe, signs are put up.

This year they have announced, should the cold spell enable the lakes to reach the advised thickness, that they will not clear the ice for skating due to the ongoing epidemic.

However, they do measure the ice in order to put up signs allowing people to walk on the ice when it is safe.

Some lakes are by experience never safe enough – and the frozen ice is never safe in harbours or near the coastline.

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What to look for?

On the Copenhagen municipal site this list can be found, the nej – means these lakes normally used during the winter for ice-skating or simply taking a walk are all NOT safe yet.

The list states the location, is the ice safe – the NEJ means no not at the moment – and the last part is the winter activtiy offerede when the ice is safe (it will say JA and not NEJ)

Indre By  Nej   Sortedamssøen Syd  Skøjtebanering og skøjtebane
Indre By  Nej   Peblinge Sø                Skøjtebane på 5000m2
Indre By  Nej   Skt. Jørgens Sø         Nord Adgang uden snerydninger
Indre By  Nej   Østre Anlæg Midt     Adgang uden snerydninger
Indre By  Nej   Sø i Ørstedsparken   Adgang uden snerydninger
Indre By  Nej   Stadsgraven               Skøjtebane på 5000m2
Østerbro  Nej   Fælledparksøen        Adgang uden snerydninger
Amager    Nej   Vandsystemet på Vestamager/Ørestaden   3 skøjtebaner
Amager    Nej    Kastrup Fort Voldgrav   Skøjtebane
Bispebjerg/Brønshøj/Husum  Nej   Brønshøj Kirkemose Skøjtebane på 5000m2
Bispebjerg/Brønshøj/Husum   Nej  Utterslev Torv Skøjtebane på 1000m2
Bispebjerg/Brønshøj/Husum   Nej  Brønshøj Gadekær Skøjtebane på 680m2

Look for the list in Copenhagen here.

Look for the list in Aarhus here

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