A Man Cross-Country Skied the Frozen Charles River [Updated]

He skied across on Tuesday and Wednesday, but is no longer planning to make the trip again on Thursday evening due to safety concerns.

UPDATE, 3:45 p.m.: 

Ari Ofsevit has cancelled his plans to cross-country ski across the frozen Charles River for a third time this evening after being contacted by officials from the Massachusetts State Police, he says.

“Though lakes, ponds, and streams across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can provide wonderful winter recreational opportunities, it is important to use caution and be aware of the potential dangers that icy conditions can carry,” a Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation spokesperson said in a news release this afternoon.

Additional ice safety tips can be found at mass.gov, as well as a list of acceptable cross-country skiing locations.


Ari Ofsevit, thrill-seeker and cross-country skier, decided to ski the Charles River on Tuesday. After living to tell the tale, he says he did it again on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Ofsevit says he skied three-and-a-half miles across the river in about 25 minutes, a journey from the Anderson Bridge in Allston to the Longfellow Bridge. “Anything you do is a risk. This is a small one,” he says. “As long as you stay in the middle, I would guess that you could probably drive a car down it.”

Ofsevit says that the combination of heavy snowfall and subzero temperatures have created a conditions for what is called crust skiing, which typically only occurs out West. It happens later in season once moisture in the air and sun cause the snow to melt and then freeze over, creating a supportive layer on top of the powder.

Ofsevit says the cold doesn’t bother him. He’s skied on lakes in Wisconsin and in -11 degree weather, so a balmy 10 degrees Fahrenheit isn’t a big deal.

“It’s an opportunity to go out and have an experience that’s pretty unique to the area,” he says. “I don’t know of anywhere else you can ski on a river in the city.”