Everyone in New England has their own signs of spring that they look for. Some get excited when they see the first robin. For others, it’s the sight of tulips emerging from the ground. For us in the Lake Winnipesaukee region, we excitedly wait for “Ice-Out.”
Ice-Out is the first day when all the ice that has covered Lake Winnipesaukee during the winter has broken up enough to allow the M/S Mount Washington cruise ship to navigate between Alton Bay, Center Harbor, Weirs Beach, Meredith and Wolfeboro. It doesn’t mean the M/S Mount Washington begins navigating to those places; but it means it could. It’s also the sign we look for that means winter is over and the boating season can now begin.
Winnipesaukee’s Ice-Out date has been recorded for more than 130 years. The earliest recorded Ice-Out was in 2012 on March 23. The latest it has occurred was on May 12. That was in 1888. The exact date and time of Ice-Out is unscientific, and nowadays is determined by a pilot for Emerson Aviation who flies over the lake several times a day.
Unfortunately, after the brutally cold winter we just endured, Ice-Out could be very late this year. Almost no open water was reported in the lake to start April, and ice thickness was still at 14 to 20 inches. So it may be awhile before we’re cruising the waters of our beloved lake. But Ice-Out will come . . . eventually.