(NECN: Lauren Collins, Derry, NH) Before you head out for some winter fun, consider this. "In the same body of water you could have two inches of ice in one spot and you might have two feet in another."
Derry, New Hampshire Fire Lieutenant Rick Fisher says weeks of cold temperatures and months of heavy snow don't always make for great conditions. In fact, too much snow can actually cause thin ice, "because we've had so much, it adds so much weight to the ice, it makes the ice weaker."
A deep snowpack also insulates the ice so it doesn't freeze completely. The Parks and Recreation Department in Derry canceled all on-ice activities at its weekend frost festival because of questionable conditions. On Sunday, a Hooksett woman described as an experienced snow-shoer fell through the ice near her house and was waist deep in slush for hours before she was rescued.
"Anytime you're doing anything in the winter you always just want to make sure you're really prepared," says Program Naturalist Angie Krysiak at The Massabesic Audubon Center which manages nearly five miles of trails in Auburn.
Krysiak says even the most experienced outdoorsman can be fooled - deep snow tends to hide the landscape cues around waterways so it's best to avoid them entirely. And always dress in layers. "Even if it's a nice day like today you wanna make sure you have enough warm stuff on," she says.
Lt. Fisher trains firefighters for ice rescues - he says you can never be too careful. Water is fickle, even when its frozen.