Yellow knife, Canada
Sixteen inches of ice is the minimum you’d want to drive on—though locals sometimes drive on less, not always successfully. At that level, the ice can safely support large vehicles, vehicles with trailers, and multiple vehicles passing at once. More ice is needed to handle the constant abuse of a public highway, however, and when it comes to ice driving schools, you’ll rarely be on less than 4 feet of solidified lake.
Still a bit creeped out by the thought of sinking to the frigid bottom? Just remember, hearing the sharp pop of cracking ice is a good thing—it’s when the cracking stops that it’s time to get out and run. Why? Because it means the piece you’re on has broken free and is no longer supported by the surrounding ice. — Nelson Ireson AM
COLD REASON Yellowknife’s highway department uses amphibious vehicles pulling radar sleds to scan the thickness of the ice as winter comes on, as well as more old-school methods.