Skip to main content

Warm weekend prompts warning from Calgary fire officials to stay off waterways


Recent mild weather has led to unsafe conditions and thin ice, according to the Calgary Fire Department.

And positive temperatures in the weekend forecast will only add to that.

Footprints across the Bow River are signs that many people believe it's frozen enough to walk across from the East Village to St. Patrick's Island – when there's a perfectly good bridge to use.

"It's just better to stay off (the river ice)," said Carol Henke, public information officer with the Calgary Fire Department.

"We have had instances where people have fallen through. The water is extremely cold – hypothermia sets in very quickly and it's just incredibly dangerous."


Henke is also reminding people to stay off storm ponds any time of the year, as enforced by Calgary Bylaw.

It’s $500 for a first offence.

Henke says the water levels at Calgary's 200 storm ponds will rise and fall with the changing weather patterns, trapping air between the water and a thin layer of ice.

As there is runoff from Calgary roadways, storm ponds also have hidden hazards.

Henke says the Glenmore reservoir is off-limits between October and May.

The freeze-thaw cycle between overnight and daylight can also make for icy walkways.


However, officials at WinSport say the recent weather conditions are just right for their operations, with ideal daily average temperatures just above or below freezing.

It's when temperatures rise into the double digits that snow melts and conditions worsen.

"(It becomes a challenge) more-so with the west winds that we get. We love those chinooks but for us, that makes the snow disappear a little bit faster," said Dale Oviatt, senior communications manager for WinSport.

Oviatt says there's enough of a base mix of artificial and early season snow to keep the ski hill running until April.

He says there have been no operations adjustments so far in January due to weather impacts. Top Stories

Stay Connected