Freezing Fun: Skating Outdoors


Winter Wonderland: A frozen pond near downtown Milford, which may be skateable if cold weather continues. Photo Courtesy: Katharine Harrison, January 2020

Katharine Harrison, Staff Writer

     Got the cold-weather blues? ‘Snow problem. With winter upon us, temperatures are rapidly dropping. However, a decrease in temperature does not mean a decrease in fun. The frosty air brings with it the chance to skate on Milford, Connecticut’s duck ponds. The duck pond on North Street and the  one behind City Hall are the perfect local places for some winter excitement. 

     Fun in Milford doesn’t have to stop with the onset of colder weather. Cooler days offer the perfect chance to enjoy the outdoors and go for a skate – provided it’s safe to do so.

     Outdoor ice skating is a fun way to spend a chilly day, but safety always comes first. There is a certain risk that comes with skating on ponds.

     In recent years, the ice in Milford has not necessarily frozen consistently – but there are ways to make sure the ice is safe. 

     According to the US Department of Natural Resources (DNR), four inches of clear ice is safe for “ice fishing or other activities on foot”. So, how does one know how thick the ice is?

     The DNR recommends creating a small hole in the ice, whether with a drill or an ice chisel. Then, stick a tape measure in the ice, with the hook anchoring itself underneath the ice layer. If the ice measures 4+ inches, it is considered safe, but the risk of breaking the ice decreases with every additional inch.

     Additionally, Mayor Ben Blake shares “…it is the city’s fire chief who makes the official determination whether the ice is safe to skate.” If it is safe to do so, residents may skate on the “downtown ponds along the Wepawaug, as well as Walker Pond off Meadowside Road.”

     Milford residents have fond memories of skating on the duck ponds. Even younger generations are getting in on the fun.

     Junior Megan McTigue says, “I would love to skate on it if I knew it was safe. Last time the duck pond was frozen over, myself and my friends Grace and Victoria stood on it and had a snowball fight and it was a lot of fun.”

     Foran Athletic Director Anthony Vitelli remembers, “When I was very young, my father and mother would take my older sister, my younger brother and me to City Hall and the Duck Pond to skate. When I got a little older (6 th or 7 th grade), I would meet my friends at Flax Mill Terrace and we would play hockey.”

     Beach days and barbecues may be far away, but a frozen pond and some hot cocoa may bring a feeling warmer than a summer day. Make sure to check the ice, then lace up those skates and enjoy the winter weather.