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Mendota Freeze Contest

When will Lake Mendota freeze?

On Thursday, December 1st, Clean Lakes Alliance will kick off its 11th annual Mendota Freeze Contest. Calling on weather watchers and ice experts of all ages, the contest asks people to guess the official ice-on date for Lake Mendota. A winner will be randomly selected from all entrants who guess the correct freeze date. The winner will receive $1,000 in gift cards from Lands’ End.

Make your guess

Lake Mendota frozen 7Jan2022
A frozen Lake Mendota on the morning of January 7, 2022. Photo taken from the Clean Lakes Alliance offices on Lake Mendota, which are donated in kind by Foley and Lardner, LLP.

Freeze statistics for Lake Mendota

Mendota Freeze Facts
Mendota Freeze Statistics

A look back at the 2021-22 season

For the 10th year in a row, Clean Lakes Alliance held its annual Mendota Freeze Contest, asking people to make a guess as to when the lake would officially freeze. Of the more than 1,600 people to enter the contest, 98 people guessed Lake Mendota would freeze on January 7th. Randomly selected from those to guess the correct date was Jennifer Fjelsted of Fond du Lac. She will receive a $1,000 gift card courtesy of Lands’ End as the grand prize. Fjelsted said she has entered the Mendota Freeze Contest a few years in a row. She just picked a random date and her win was pure luck! She added that she plans on buying some warm winter gear with her $1,000 Lands’ End gift card.

Temperatures below the freezing mark, combined with cold water, helped Lake Mendota officially freeze in the early morning hours on Friday, January 7, 2022. The official declaration comes from the Wisconsin State Climatology Office. Lake Mendota, the largest lake in the Yahara Watershed, froze 23 days shy of January 30th. The latest ice-on date ever declared was on January 30th, 1932.

The Wisconsin State Climatology Office requires ice to hold for a period of 24 hours before a lake can officially be declared frozen over. The January 7 freeze date is only four days after last year’s freeze date of January 3rd. The median freeze date for Lake Mendota is December 20th.

Lake Mendota Ice Panoramic
Lake Mendota with a thin layer of ice in the early fall of 2018, seen from James Madison Park in Madison

Contest Rules

Only one guess per individual. Multiple entries will be automatically disqualified. Official rules and regulations can be found here.

Mendota Freeze 3

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