Residents taking advantage of outdoor skating opportunities in Sioux Lookout
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Sioux Lookout and area residents have been lacing up their skates and taking advantage of the local outdoor skating opportunities.
Earlier in the month approximately 100 skaters were skating on, and enjoying, the clear ice on Pelican Lake.
“I feel extremely lucky to have been part of such a unique experience. The ice was completely clear for a number of days before we had snowfalls. I was skating around on the lake and I saw around 100 people total on the ice,” said Ruben Hummelen, Sioux Lookout resident.
Sioux Lookout resident Cole Skanderberg was one of many residents to lace up their skates and head out on Pelican Lake. A video he captured on Dec. 1 while playing hockey on Pelican Lake was featured across the National Hockey League’s (NHL) social media platforms.
The video has since received over 220,000 views, 1100 comments, and 1600 shares on the NHL’s Facebook page.
“When we got handed the lucky ice situation we did this year, it was nice to see everybody and their families taking advantage of it. For the NHL page to take it and show it around the world to many others just really shows how much people are tied into the game of hockey, and something as simple as a sheet of ice draws as many smiles from many faces,” Skanderberg told the Bulletin.
Last year, Hummelen and his family decided one day to skate from their Government Row home to visit friends on Lake Street.
The idea became a hit with his friends and later became known as the Sioux Lookout Skating Trail.
This month, residents have already been enjoying the skating trail once again.
“This is the second annual Sioux Lookout Skating Trail. Last year was incredible. It was very well-used, and at the end we had a skating trail party. There were always people out trying to help, so it was really a community effort to keep it clear. If we can keep the trail open for the month of December and perhaps for a few weeks in January, that would be a fantastic result,” said Hummelen.
“There is a trail from Government Row to Lake Street and there is a loop at the beach, but the loop still needs to be connected to the rest of the skating trail… People are invited to bring a shovel and help out a bit, and people living along the trail will be doing their bit,” he said.
The Sioux Lookout Fire Department and Sioux Lookout OPP want to remind residents to keep safety as a top priority while enjoying activities on the ice.
“We recommend people keep safety in mind as they venture into the outdoors for their winter recreation. Make sure everyone in your group is dressed appropriately for the weather and the planned activities. While outdoors, always remain aware of your surroundings and be cognizant of changing conditions, so that you may understand the hazards around you. Laws around alcohol consumption extend to the frozen water, and consequences of bad decisions made while under the influence of alcohol and other intoxicating substances can be deadly,” said Sioux Lookout OPP Constable Andrea DeGagne.
“It is always important to keep the following ice safety tips in mind:
• Never go onto the ice alone.
• Avoid going on the ice at night.
• Keep away from unfamiliar paths or unknown ice.
• Know your location in case you go through the ice.
• Avoid going on the ice on warm or snowy days,” said Rob Favot, Manager of Emergency Services and Fire Chief.
“The Fire department is equipped with dry suits, sleigh, ropes, life jackets, lights and throw bags to respond to ice or water issues, but we encourage everyone to be cautious on the ice to avoid any tragic circumstances,” he added.
The Government of Canada recommends a minimum of ten centimetres (four inches) of ice before anyone heads out on ice, and the Canadian Red Cross recommends a minimum of 15 cm of ice under a single person, 20 cm of ice for skating parties, and 25 cm for a single snowmobile.
Along with skating on the lake, residents can also enjoy the outdoor rinks in both Sioux Lookout and in Hudson. The Sioux Lookout rink is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. There is a warm change station available for skaters.
“The Hudson Outdoor Rink will be operational as of Monday December 9th. The hours for the concession will be as follows:
• Sundays1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.
• Mondays 6-9 p.m.
• Tuesdays 6-9 p.m.
• Wednesday Closed
• Thursdays 6-9 p.m.
• Fridays 6-9 p.m.
• Saturdays 6-9 p.m.,” said Chris Favot, Interim Recreation & Culture Department Manager.