By Lisa Meadows

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Videos of northern Minnesota are going viral as crystal clear ice has formed across lakes in the Boundary Waters.

“This year was super rare. I know some of my friends who lived here for 25 years have never seen it like this,” Cassidy Ritter, of Voyager Canoe Outfitters, said.

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The lake ice is as clear as glass and stretches for miles along Sea Gull Lake in northern Minnesota.

“It was breathtaking. I couldn’t believe I was there. For one, I couldn’t believe I was on Sea Gull Lake ice skating in the Boundary Waters. It was the most amazing feeling ever. Magical, and the sunset and the snow in the trees. It was just absolutely beautiful,” Ritter said.

Matt and Cassidy Ritter took advantage of the rare opportunity by ice skating on the lake after the ice formed this past week.

“It was clear ice and there wasn’t even snow on the ice, nothing. It was quite eerie. Even both the dogs were unsure of it because they could see through it,” Matt Ritter said.

Weather conditions have to be just right for the crystal clear lake surface to form.

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“The calm winds and the lack of snow caused the ice to form in that it wasn’t being disturbed. The wind wasn’t picking it up and moving it around and the snow was not accumulating on the ice. So it was basically just a sitting cup of water,” Cassidy Ritter said.

It may have looked like walking on water, but the ice was actually 4 or 5 inches thick across much of the lake.

“It got especially unique when we were near the shorelines and we were going over some boulder piles we even saw some fishing lures and different things so that was pretty cool as well,” Matt Ritter said.

Photographers from across the state have been flocking to Sea Gull Lake and Loon Lake to take in this rare and beautiful landscape.

“All of Grand Marais was probably there. It was really cool to see it is hard to see such a community aspect in such a crazy time period. It was cool to see everyone getting outside,” Matt Ritter said.

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The two measured the ice to be about 5 inches thick. A reminder: ice should be at least 4 inches before you walk on it.

Lisa Meadows