With the recent sub-freezing temperatures many of our lakes and ponds have frozen over. Then we had a good amount of snow on top. What happens sometimes is that the snow melds together with the ice below forming a solid-looking but bumpy icy surface.

If you're wondering if it's good enough to skate on yet, it's not. I did the leg work for you. Literally!

Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media
Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media

The lake behind my house looked like a solid amalgamation of the snow and ice of the last few days, so I decided to test it out.

I'm usually pretty good at putting gradual pressure and waiting to hear the sound of the ice and if any water is pushing up on the edges. Not this time.

Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media
Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media

One leg went completely down to the bottom, which is fortunately only about 2 feet deep on the edges.

Luckily I quickly dashed into the house (after looking around to see if anyone saw me go in) and stripped down and threw the clothes in the washer. The wet shoe is drying in the basement.

It’s an actual mix of art and science when it comes to figuring out when a pond or lake is safe to skate on. The science part comes with sustained below-freezing temperatures and the stillness of a body of water.

The art comes into play from knowing the look, the sound and the feel of a certain pond or lake.

Moving water is always trickier and takes many more sustained days of below-freezing temperatures. I skated on the Navesink River a few years back.

I don’t think we’re quite there yet for this season's skating, but most of the smaller ponds and lakes are pretty safe.

With warmer temperatures on the way later this week and into next week, we'll have to wait til the next cold snap to try out our favorite places to hit the outdoor ice here in New Jersey. I can't wait to get back on the ice again.

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