Lake Sunapee

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Matt Steinberg

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Mar 1, 2024, 12:57:08 PMMar 1
to NHNordicSkating, VTNordicskating
Good Afternoon,

Taking advantage of a morning off from work, I decided to give Sunapee a try for the first time this year. I was able to do a complete circumnavigation of the shoreline from George's Mills to Newbury and back. See attached track. Just because I could do it doesn't necessarily mean I should have. It was an adventure to say the least. Basically the grey ice that occasionally shows up in the bays and along the shorelines is decent. Some short very smooth sections, others orange peel, overall maybe a 7. The majority of the lake is covered in thick and still somewhat transparent black ice that is for the most part pretty bad. A lot of this ice is heavily scalloped and is akin to skating over pack ice or a rubble band. It has beautiful cracks and patterns but is pretty awful to skate. Being masochistic, I decided that I was in it for the long haul and skated the entire shoreline. There was one problematic pressure ridge you can see across the lake in my track that required hopscotching across a lot of frozen polygons on the way down. These were too loosely bonded on the way back so I had to portage across someone's yard. I visited all the lighthouses (Maine coast has nothing on Sunapee) and into some seldom travelled bays. It is a beautiful and unique lake and I do not regret deciding to commit to this adventure today. That said, it was the hardest and most bone chattering 30 miles I have ever skated. If you are into pain and punishment and want an adventure, give it a shot but otherwise look for better ice. I am sure there is a lot out there based on other reports.
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