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It's a phenomenon that occurs when conditions are *just* right, but this year seems to be a good year for wild ice in Minnesota.

I have to admit that despite having lived in Wisconsin and Minnesota my entire life, I was today's days old when I first heard the term 'wild ice.' Previously, I thought wild ice referred to the rink at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, home of the NHL's Minnesota Wild.

But nope. Wild ice is a thing, and it's been spotted again across various parts of Minnesota again this year. In case you-- like me-- don't know just what wild ice actually is, Axios Twin Cities compiled a fairly concise definition:

Wild ice is a rarity in Minnesota. It happens when lakes freeze deep enough for skating but haven't yet been covered in snow. Often, the clear ice allows skaters to peer down into the water.

Wild ice can also be characterized as that especially black, glassy, smooth ice. This MPR story explains that wild ice is usually more common in northern Minnesota, especially north of Highway 61 along the North Shore, where temperatures are typically colder than in other parts of the state. But there's also often snow there, too, which isn't good for the formation of wild ice.

READ MORE: This Classic 90s MN Jingle Is Back Again For the Winter Season

But the late fall and early winter season this year has been a good one so far for wild ice. In fact, in a Facebook post on the Cook County Lake Skater Network, fellow Minnesotan Barb LaVigne posted a cool video of a recent 8-mile skate trip she recently took over some scenic wild ice in northern Minnesota.

Of course, wild ice isn't just a phenomenon unique to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, however. Lake Owen Resort in Cable, Wisconsin also noted that conditions for wild ice have been spectacular in their neck of the woods (which is about three hours northeast of the Twin Cities) as well in a video posted to their Facebook page.

In case you're going to set out to find some wild ice yourself, be careful. The Minnesota DNR notes that ice on lakes and ponds in other parts of the North Star State right now is likely still too thin and not yet safe for skating and other activities. (You can get more on ice safety HERE.)

And while skating (whether on wild ice or not) is a great holiday and winter activity in Minnesota, another classic is checking out all those amazing holiday light displays. Have you heard about the longest light display in the Bold North? Keep scrolling to check it out!

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Minnesota’s Longest Drive-Thru Light Show

The Kiwanis Holiday Light Display is free to the public but cash and non-perishable food donations are accepted. All money collected is given to area non-profits. Since opening in 2012 the event has raised more than $500,000 for local charities.

Gallery Credit: troy dunken


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