This winter has been different from previous winters. We had snow earlier than during the latest 10 years, and it has been colder. On top - the water has been frozen since before mid December. As it happens there is no skating ice yet. We are expecting some later on in the winter. However something we call double ice has developed.
Double ice is formed by one layer of ice against the see having a layer of water on top and then that layer has a second layer of ice. There is really water in between the two ice layers. Snow acts as insulation on top of the upper ice and prevents the water between the layers from freezing. Without the snow we would have had strong compact ice able to carry a car, but now we only posess two fairly weak layers of soft ice. It does however carry a human being in most places..... as always there are weak spots too.
Double ice is a benefit too. Using an ax or a saw we can cut out bricks of ice from the upper ice layer and build an igloo. It has in fact become a very strong construction and great fun and experience to do. Some people sleep in those and we might do so too some day.