24 April, 2014

Dare We Think about Shoveling Canal Snow Too?

This email arrived from the Montgomery Gazette this afternoon:

From: Donaghue, Erin <edonaghue@gazette.net>
To: pucksandbooks@onfrozenblog.com
Sent: Wed Feb 10
Subject: question from the Gazette

Hi pucksandbooks, this is Erin Donaghue writing with the Gazette in Montgomery County. We’re trying to set up a photo for sometime this weekend of hockey along the C&O Canal, and your name came up when I did an Internet search. I understand most of the action happens near Lock 7. Do you know of any planned hockey games within the next few days (after the weather hopefully clears up) that we could send a photog out to? Thanks. –Erin

Honestly, I hadn’t thought about returning to the Canal for shinny with all this snow. I mean, you’d need a backhoe to clear it off, no? Theoretically, it could be done, I suppose, but in my reply to Erin I suggested that it was highly unlikely, given the volume of snow locals have already muscled out of their driveways and around their homes here the past week. Would they really pack up the gear, head down to the Canal, and shovel even more — a lot more? Doesn’t hurt that we have, amazingly enough, a three-day weekend ahead of us. “I know the devotion of shinny players,” I wrote Erin.

So tell me, you who’ve already skated the Canal this winter, or missed out and cursed your bad luck, would you really try and shovel it clear for some skating this weekend?


  1. got stanley? wrote:

    F YEAH.

    10 February, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Permalink
  2. hockeymatt wrote:

    I was in Canada for the first hockey weekend on the canal and would love to make it out this weekend. I’ve got my shovel!

    10 February, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Permalink
  3. got stanley? wrote:

    I’m game if you are.

    10 February, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Permalink
  4. That’s the shinny spirit! I’m inspired. Thinking about donning the snowsuit and hiking the hills this afternoon for cardio training.

    10 February, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Permalink
  5. Eric wrote:

    I’ve been jonesin’ to get out on the ice. Pond or rink, I don’t care at this point. I need to skate. Getting there is the only question.

    10 February, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Permalink
  6. Lepue_38 wrote:

    Was just at Lock 8 walking the dog. It would be no simple task to shovel the canal right now. We would need a good group working in shifts to get it cleared enough to skate.

    10 February, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink
  7. You got a good first shift in you, T! Just think about the warm-up beers back home afterward.

    10 February, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink
  8. mark wrote:

    Would love to get a game going if enough people get out there…keep us updated!

    10 February, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink
  9. Alex wrote:

    It’s a great idea, but with 30+ inches of snow out there, that’s a hell of a task to dig all that out. Plus, an accumulation of snow like that on the ice weakens it significantly, so it’s likely not as strong as it should be to support a game. Add to that the 35+ MPH winds we’ve got going in MoCo, and that’s one hell of an outdoor game.

    The good thing – everything should be closed the next few days, so if we can get it cleared tomorrow, and it stays cold, it should be playable over the weekend.

    Keep updating this blog and we’ll get something together.

    10 February, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Permalink
  10. Brady wrote:

    Me and my friend play on a lake behind my house all the time. We are down if you all are.

    10 February, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink
  11. James wrote:

    Let me know and I will get some of my Bantams out there to clear the ice. Should be good for them since all the hockey the last week has been canceled.

    10 February, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  12. got stanley? wrote:

    Getting there is a good point; I’m north of Baltimore and I’m still having to work from home in this mess. Can we do it Saturday?

    10 February, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink
  13. Christopher wrote:

    This is fantastic! Count me in! I’m willing to shovel.Ever since the first go around of shinny at Lock 7 I’ve been dying to get my fix of pond hockey again. Will see if I can rally some of the Rink Rats and Rabbits from Japers’ Rink to pitch in — there has been talk of shinny and I was in the process of organizing.

    10 February, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Permalink
  14. rm wrote:

    You will probably have a hard time believing this, but I am so jealous of you all right now. There is no snow, no cold, no outdoor hockey, period, out here in Hawaii. If I were there this week, I would lead your shoveling crew and have a smile on my face the entire time.

    11 February, 2010 at 12:36 am | Permalink
  15. I’d be out there shoveling right now if we could get a game going.

    11 February, 2010 at 6:51 am | Permalink
  16. Boots wrote:

    I’d be game, though I’d doubt the ice is thick enough right now. But then last time Iti was and I thought it wasn’t.

    What time? Where?

    11 February, 2010 at 8:20 am | Permalink
  17. Josh wrote:

    I’ll be happy to help out with the shoveling on Sat/Sun if needed. Loved playing the pond hockey last month.

    11 February, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink
  18. Christopher wrote:

    Is this happening? Wondering if anyone has some inside info on the state of the C&O Canal. Are temps favorable? Is the ice thick enough? Got my shovel in hand ready to clear some snow.

    13 February, 2010 at 11:38 am | Permalink
  19. John wrote:

    I can help shovel on Sunday. Any chance of this actually happening?

    13 February, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Permalink
  20. Josh wrote:

    Drove by earlier today; Canal is (mostly) clear. Still a few small spots with some…..slush, i guess, but there’s probably about 500 feet long that’s clear. Walked on the canal, still frozen. There’s a few spots around the edges to avoid (notably on the side where there’s a drainage to the potomac – you could hear the water going through. In some places, there’s a very thin layer of snow still left (maybe like, 1/4 in); I’m pretty sure you could skate through it, though you might slow down a bit. Looked like the upper layer would get a little beat up if people skated on it – there were inch deep holes where leaves had seemed to burn through the ice. Didn’t see holes deep enough to reach water in the center though.

    Biggest problem was access. The parking lot was cleared, but with only a few spots. Along the side of the road, the snow is still 2+ feet deep, and not too many people can park in that. Also, getting down to the ice is a little difficult – there’s not really a clear path right now – the snow got up to my knees where I walked down to/back up from the canal.

    If anyone has the day off and wants to go tomorrow though, I’d be up for it.

    Oh, and I cross posted this report at Japer’s Rink as well…..

    14 February, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. On Frozen Blog › Canal Update: Tempting Conditions on Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    [...] A first-hand report of conditions down at the C&O Canal arrived this afternoon via comments to my query file of earlier in the week, Dare We Think About Shoveling Canal Snow Too? [...]