The mild weather has people wondering about the condition of outdoor winter recreation opportunities in the area, including that of Lake Minnewasta.
"The ice is still safe at this point, but it could change in a day. It could change in two days," said Brian Thiessen, campground manager at Lake Minnewasta, speaking from the icy surface. "What would help us obviously, is minus temperatures overnight to maintain some kind of ice integrity. If we have plus temperatures for much too long, then you're going to want to watch the ice for whether it starts to look a little cloudy or crystallized, then that's not very safe ice to be on at all."
Currently, there are about 20 ice fishing shacks set up on the lake.
"It's been great to see," said Thiessen. "The fishing hasn't been great since the drought and then the subsequent flood, but we have twenty shacks this year, which is a little down from last year, and I think that just means the fishing wasn't too great last year and so some decided to go elsewhere. But I think it's great they're here. I haven't heard anything about whether they've been catching or not, but they haven't left, so I guess they're still able to catch something."
In Manitoba, ice fishing season wraps up at the end of March, but with these persistent warm days, we asked Thiessen how long it'll be before they ask for the shacks to come off.
"We had one particular previous year where we did ask for them to come off earlier because we also had a warming trend that spring, and we asked them to come off at least a week earlier, and luckily, because some were breaking through as they were coming off. A lot of them that come out here, they don't wait for us to tell them when it's safe to come out. They are seasoned ice fishers, so they come when they know it's safe to come and they know when to get off."
As for tobogganing conditions, Thiessen noted there's snow hidden in the tree line and sledders took advantage of the conditions over the weekend. He isn't sure how much will be left for Morden's Multi-Cultural Winterfest happening in about two weeks' time but continues to hope that Mother Nature will help out and bring more seasonal weather.
Not only are preparations underway for Winterfest, but Morden Fire and Rescue is gearing up for its annual fund raising 3-on-3 pond hockey tournament, also happening at Lake Minnewasta. Additionally, the crokicurl was moved down to the ice surface as well.
Overall, Thiessen says he is trying to stay positive through it all.
"I think the warm weather is going to help us melt our poles into place, so I don't have to chip all the ice and then reflood it. So, I'm counting on the sun to do a little bit of favour here and help me out."
"It's absolutely wonderful weather to come out and enjoy the outdoors, even for us hardy Manitobans. But you know, we'll take what we can get. It's helping to reflood the ice. It will be beautiful and glistening, clear, shimmering ice if we get some minus temperatures, which is obviously what we're hoping for."
~With files from Robyn Wiebe~