The Lake Windermere Whiteway may be open to cross country skiers, but it’s not Guinness record-breaking yet. Before the Whiteway can receive the worldwide acclaim local sare eagerly anticipating for having the world’s largest outdoor skating rink, it still needs more ice.
According to Whiteway maintainer Brad Kitching, who laid down the first skiing track of the 2012-2013 winter season on December 31, the ice is averaging out at nine inches, which isn’t enough for him to plow the ice skating track. Whereas the skiing track is set by snowmobile, plowing the ice requires the use of a truck and until the ice is averaging 12 inches, it’s not safe for the truck’s weight.
“We’re not getting a lot of ice growth, it seems,” Kitching told The Echo. “It’s way slower than I would expect.”
To grow an inch of ice a day, the temperature needs to be consistently minus ten Celsius, which hasn’t been the case. As a result, Kitching said the condition of the ice is as poor as he’s ever seen it with lots of wet spots and concrete-hard snow drifts. What he calls a wet spot is where water is oozing up a crack in the ice, the result of thinner, more flexible ice.
“Really, our quest has not even begun,” he said, referring to the District of Invermere’s aim to get into the Guinness World Book of Records.
He’s hoping to begin ice clearing starting Friday (January 11). In the meantime, 19 kilometres of groomed cross-country ski trails are ready to go, with both classic and skate tracks. The three official entry points onto the Whiteway are at Kinsmen Beach in Invermere, the Invermere Bay Condos, and Windermere Beach, where user information, maps and a donation box are located.