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Warmer, more volatile winters limit lake ice skating opportunities in Vermont » Yale Climate Connections


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In the winter, visitors head to Lake Morey in Vermont to lace up ice skates and glide along a four-mile skating track on the frozen lake.

But warming temperatures and volatile weather can disrupt those plans.

Sarah Howe is with Lake Morey resort, which plows and maintains the skating trail.

“Particularly this last winter was the most difficult winter for us to maintain our trail,” she says. “Every storm that came through our area was fluctuating in temperature, wildly. So you may start with heavy snow, very, very cold … and then all of a sudden change to rain.”

Or, she says, a storm would start with rain and switch to snow, encrusting the ice in frozen slush.

She says in recent years, Vermont winters have also been warmer, so the trail has not been ready until later in the season.

“The ice needs be strong enough and thick enough for us to be able to plow any snow off the trail,” Howe says.

To adapt to the changes, the resort built a small artificial rink and is considering expanding other winter activities.

So she says visitors to the resort can still enjoy the beautiful outdoors, but it’s getting harder to ice skate for miles on a pristine Vermont lake.

Read: Global warming is real, so why is it cold outside?

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media



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