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Diana Meyer, Deerwood, took this photo as family members enjoyed time on ice boa

Flying across frozen waters


A certain group of sail boaters in the lakes area like their air temperatures frigid and their water frozen.

And this season, at least in the early days of winter with freezing temperatures and no snow, they were able to pursue their passion of skating across the ice driven by the wind.


Avid ice boater, Diane Meyer, Deerwood, was plying the frozen waters of Bay Lake in December.

“That was like a perfect day it wasn’t too cold and the ice was good,” she said of the ice boating in Bay Lake on a late Sunday in December. It was so nice she kept calling people to share in the experience.

“It’s really quiet,” Diane Meyer said. “It’s like sailing on ice, you hear the noise of the blades it’s just kind of you and the wind.”

Meyer estimates she’s averaging about 20 mph, although it feels faster as you sit 8 to 10 inches off the ice. Being able to catch the wind brings in the sailing experience, but Meyer said it’s easy for beginners.

Ice boating is something Meyer has been around much of her life as her father was the first to get one. “It’s really fun,” Meyer said “You can just feel the boat kind of jump ahead so it is an adrenalin rush.”

After Meyer reviewed photos taken in December, the ice looked so blue it appeared they were standing on the water or actually sailing on a very calm day.

John Sumption, Longville, enjoys winter by ice boating on Woman Lake. Sumption, who also spends time on a zipline when he travels to Costa Rica, isn’t afraid of speed. Sumption said he reaches speeds of 75 mph on the ice boat as it glides across the frozen surface.

The Minnesota Ice Sailing Association distributes information about ice boating online at iceboating.net.

It’s not all about speed, the association reported.

“Nope, some of our best friends are ‘cruisers,’ they’re the real daredevils,” the association reported on its web page. “The idea of some dread incident occurring, say coldwater immersion, alone on some desolate lake while ‘just cruising’ seems too darn dangerous to many of us who race. Do the math, if you race, you’re sailing on maybe 350 acres of lake, all day. Cruisers might touch a couple thousand acres, and are much more likely to find a flaw in the ice at speed.”

The association reports people are able to be sailing on the ice for less than $100 as people many people build their own. New and used boats area also available and rigs may cost $2,500 to $3,000.

Strapping skates to a sail boat isn’t a new idea. The association reports people have been on ice boats in the U.S. for more than 150 years and in Europe for more than 400 years.

“Iceboating was for quite a while the only way to travel ‘Faster than Falling,’” the association reported. “It’s got a rich history and oral tradition that carries across the generations.”

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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