The Minnesota Ice Sailing Association is a loosely knit information-sharing group, as of today, we're truly a virtual organization, as we have no members, no formal organization, no dues, no assets, ...nothing. All we do is compile and distribute what we believe to be accurate information about iceboating and ice conditions in our back yards.
Nope, not a chance. Iceboating is an inherently dangerous sport; anybody suggesting it's safe is lying. In fact if you do it long enough, it's sure to either kill, cripple or maim you. These little things travel at freeway speeds, on a surface as fickle as ice. Really, what could possibly go wrong? Others have suggested it's "statistically safer" than car travel, which seems to be accurate.
Nope, some of our best friends are "cruisers", they're the real daredevils. The idea of some dread incident occurring, say coldwater immersion, alone on some desolate lake while "just cruising" seems too darn dangerous to many of us who race. Do the math, if you race, you're sailing on maybe 350 acres of lake, all day. Cruisers might touch a couple thousand acres, and are much more likely to find a flaw in the ice at speed. Proof Point
Technically most of what we do isn't really racing; rather we've adopted a convention for minimizing collision risk and maximize safety. Uniform direction, standardized collision avoidance protocol (rules), all minimizes the chances of two iceboats colliding. To the untrained eye, it might even look like a race, and yup, there's bragging rights associated with being fast.
There are iceboaters cleverly hidden all over Minnesota, it seems like every town has one or two guys that would rather do this than one of those other winter activities. We would encourage all iceboaters to use this site
At most levels, these are not "if you have to ask you can't afford" toys. A world class DN program is a heck of a lot less than a new Harley. We have a couple friends that are on the ice and sailing for under a hundred bucks. Several good used DN packages sold this fall in the $2,500 - $3,000 range. Check out the links section to find available new and used boats.
Many folks prefer to build their own.
It's not a difficult project, and really, the people who aren't willing to get comfortable in a shop, don't seem to do much iceboating.
If it's not Thursday yet, none of us know where to sail on Saturday. Because snow & ice conditions change so quickly, the decision for local gathering spots is usually made on Thursday evening. We usually start the season in one of the shallow West Central Area Lakes, and move south as lakes get snowed out or freshly freeze.
In this country over 150 years and in Europe for over 400 years, Iceboating was for quite a while the only way to travel "Faster than Falling" It's got a rich history and oral tradition that carries across the generations.
Not me, I'm generally way too scared to get cold! :)
Really, there's a fair amount of effort in sailing, particularly a DN, and just like snow skiing, if you're moving, you're usually warm.