Published on January 11, 2023

Help Protect Yourself and Loved Ones

The frozen winter months bring plenty of fun outdoor activities to do with family and friends, but some areas should always be avoided no matter how cold it gets. Help protect yourself and your loved ones by keeping off rivers, lakes, ponds, and stormwater management facilities throughout the winter. These areas are not safe for any type of recreational activity. Lacombe Lake is not a stormwater management facility and is safe for walking and skating once it’s prepared for public use by the City.

If you’re looking for places to go skating with the family, the City is proud to offer a variety of areas including Lacombe Lake, two freezeways lit up with dazzling lights at Rotary Park and Lions Park, as well as many outdoor boarded rinks and social ice surfaces.

Find Skating Locations

Sturgeon River NOT Safe

Sturgeon River on a crisp winter morning

The Sturgeon River is both beautiful and dangerous this time of year. It’s tempting to venture out onto the ice, but you could get seriously injured.

Don’t skate, snowshoe, cross-country ski or walk on the ice. Given the dangers of foot traffic, it’s equally important not to take snowmobiles, side by sides (UTVs), quads (ATVs) or other vehicles on the ice. Even if you see footprints in the snow or others walking on the Sturgeon River, never go on it yourself.

The City does not monitor water depth or ice thickness along the Sturgeon River. Due to water continuously flowing beneath the surface and changes in weather, ice thickness can change rapidly.

Many environmental factors affect ice thickness:

  • Water depth and size of body of water
  • Currents, tides and other moving water (i.e., water from stormwater outfalls)
  • Chemicals, including salt
  • Fluctuations in water levels
  • Logs, rocks and docks which absorb heat from the sun
  • Changing air temperature
  • Shock waves from vehicles traveling on the ice

Your Community Pond – Not a Pond After All

stormwater management pond in the winter

Your community pond may also look like the perfect place to play, but it has a secret; It's not a pond at all. It’s a stormwater management facility and has the important job of collecting stormwater in your neighbourhood, removing sediment, and reducing flooding of streets and yards during heavy rainfall or spring run-off.

They have unpredictable ice thickness because of fluctuating water levels, varied water quality (i.e., salt from roads and other pollutants), and temperature changes from weather conditions. Most importantly, they are unsafe for all recreational activities.

Unsure if there’s a stormwater management facility in your neighbourhood? Take a peek at this Stormwater Management Facilities Location Map, which identifies the stormwater facilities in St. Albert.

Ice Rescue Steps 

Close up of cracks in Ice

If you happen to fall through the ice, or notice that someone else has fallen through, follow the steps below.

If you fall through the ice
(self-rescue steps):

  • Yell to get the attention of others
  • Reach and grab onto the ice
  • Kick hard and push your stomach onto the ice
  • Roll like a log once on the ice; don’t get up to walk to the shore
  • Hang onto the ice and keep yelling if you can’t get yourself out

If someone else falls through the ice:

  • Call 911
  • Yell out the self-rescue steps to the person
  • Have them place their arms on the ice shelf and kick feet to thrust their chest onto the ice
  • Instruct the individual to roll onto the ice shelf away from the hole they created
  • Instruct the individual to exit the ice from the same path they went in (if they walked on that ice, you know it can hold them)
  • Continue watching and talking to the person until help arrives

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Last edited: January 11, 2023