Cold temperatures equal winter fun
By DAN SEUFERT
Union Leader Correspondent | January 23. 2013 10:59PM
Moose Cardinal of Laconia plows snow off of Meredith Bay to make more than 20 small ice rinks in preparation for the Fifth Annual Pond Hockey Classic on Feb. 1-3. (DAN SEUFERT PHOTO)
The bay, which is normally dotted with bob houses by the end of January, did not freeze over last winter, leaving open water. This winter's ice has been slow in coming, prompting frequent thin-ice warnings by authorities.
But with temperatures dipping below zero this week, the ice has been thickening, bob houses have been appearing, and it looks like the bay will have plenty of ice in time for this year's Pond Hockey Classic on Feb. 1, 2, and 3, and for the 34th Annual Great Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby on Feb. 9-10.
Scott Crowder, founder of the Pond Hockey Classic, had to move his games to smaller ponds last year. He said measurements taken by his crews this week showed between 6 and 14 inches of ice on the bay.
Barring a sudden warm-up, the classic will again be held on the bay. The games' organizers need to have 12 inches of ice to safely play, he said, and it looks like they'll have it.
That's good, Crowder said, as this year's classic will feature 200 teams, the largest in the tournament's five-year history.
"We weren't sure there for awhile how good this year's ice would be. This cold weather is much needed," Crowder said.
"At this rate, it looks like there will be lots of good ice, which is what we need."
The conditions for the fishing derby also look promising, said this year's derby director, Jim Nagle. Ice fishermen prefer at least six inches of ice to be safe, he said.
"With this arctic blast for four or five days, it looks like we'll have a solid ice base," Nagle said.
"The bob houses are already showing up all over the bay," he said. "It looks like we'll have a great year for ice fishing now, and a great tournament."