Lake Geneva Ice

Lake Geneva Ice

Bruce Thompson Photography

My last contest that involved water was a bit infuriating. Not to me, mind you, but to those of you who were so bold as to wager a guess or four. It was a tough contest, and in light of the hand ringing that accompanied it, I felt I should offer up a contest that whose answer would be a bit more attainable. If you’ve been to the lake lately, you know that the lake has begun icing over. In fact, it’s pretty much entirely iced over, with perfect iceboating ice in Fontana and Williams Bay. But pretty much isn’t entirely, and the primary body of water still boasts a very large, very defiant, section of open water. I hate the ice, but I know it’s a necessary evil as the lake regenerates itself, and the ice and snow perform some voodoo on the water and vegetation that they so shamelessly cover. Significant ice up combined with snow cover limits the light that can reach to the bottom of the shallow areas of the lake. This lack of sunshine further kills off seaweed, which in turn leaves us with a cleaner, less weedy lake. So for those who celebrate the clarity of Geneva Lake, we must endure some ice cover. As if it’s possible for Geneva to be more clear…

Geneva Bay, Buttons Bay, and most of Williams Bay and Fontana are already covered in ice. The contest at hand is to correctly guess the ice up date of the entire lake. For the purpose of this contest, we’ll call the lake frozen when ice extends from Conference Point to Cedar Point. Many years, the ice will never fully form out in deeper water, as the continual movement of the natural spring water, combined with an overwhelming depth, create a difficult environment for ice to fully form in. With mild temperatures this week and last, and more 30 degree temperatures in the forecast, there’s a very good chance that the center of the lake won’t freeze at all this year, which means I’ll get to hang on to my stable of posters.

I, for one, am hoping that the lake doesn’t freeze. Not because I don’t want to give the winner who correctly emails me the date of the aforementioned freeze a beautiful, stylish Neal Aspinall Lake Geneva Antique Boat Show print, but because if that center section of ice never forms, it’s much easier for the ice to blow off the lake once the warming winds of March begin to blow. The sooner the ice is off the lake, the sooner the piers go in. The sooner the piers go in, the sooner the boats go in. The sooner the boats go in, the sooner I can once again patrol my cherished lake and report my findings back to you. Chances are, if the lake doesn’t ice up within the next three weeks, it’s not going to ice up at all.

So there it is, your newest contest. Correctly email me the date that you think the freeze line will extend south from the imaginary line that runs from Conference Point east to Cedar Point, and win yourself one of these famous Boat Show prints. They make a great addition to any home or office, and they look particularly nice when framed against the white walls of a Lake Geneva cottage. If you must, I will allow you to transport these to Michigan, so as to help spiffy up the joint. Good luck.

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