Ice fishers and lake snowmobilers take a keen interest in the weather this time of year because the quality of the ice for the entire winter may well hinge on what the weather does over the next two to three weeks. Last winter, deep snow covered the lakes just as the ice formed. The insulating effect of snow, particularly when the ice is thin, keeps the ice separated from the freezing winter air and subjects it to the heat emanating from within the Earth. In such conditions, ice does not get as thick.
The ideal conditions for the most trustworthy ice would be for there to be little or no snow and two to three weeks of mostly freezing weather until the ice has a chance to thicken. A good cold snap would help things along nicely. For those wanting the safest of lake ice seasons, snow is counter-productive.