A skater on Lake Barcroft near Annandale on Sunday, dangerously close to open water. Authorities say it hasn’t been cold enough yet for outdoor skating, but that didn’t stop many hockey players on Lake Barcroft. (J. Larry Golfer Photography)

Photographer J. Larry Golfer of Falls Church sent along the above photo, which he snapped Sunday at Lake Barcroft along with many others. Skaters were out in large numbers on the private lake, which is near Annandale and Falls Church, despite what is a clear consensus among local authorities: It has NOT been cold enough to skate outside in Northern Virginia.

Now once upon a time in Reston, it was quite common to skate on Lake Anne and the golf course pond on North Shore Drive, where Little Tommy Jackman may once have been snagged for playing hooky while playing hockey. But that was many years ago, when we were younger, stupider and the world was perhaps a bit colder. There is no disagreement among the people who know about these things that we don’t get ice that strong anymore. And if we need a solemn reminder, earlier this month a 10-year-old boy drowned in Montgomery County while sliding on a small retention pond.

“You have to have at least two weeks of below-freezing temperatures,” said Renee Stilwell of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, citing a pretty solid rule of thumb for determining ice safety. They issued a news release after the Montgomery County incident which suggests that ice be at least three inches thick for one person to stand on, and preferably four inches. With another cold front coming, it’s worth thinking about. There are isolated reports of people skating on Lake Anne over the weekend, and a discussion of such on Reston Now’s Facebook page. This time, it wasn’t me.

Hockey players and assorted other skaters took to Lake Barcroft on Sunday, although temperatures in this area have not stayed consistently above freezing and outdoor ice is not considered safe. (J. Larry Golfer Photography)