As editor of this blog, note that I live in California so it is impossible for me to assess ice conditions unless I'm travelling, which is very infrequent to rare. The window for a skate on the I&M or the Hennepin Canal is very short if at all in a given winter, so chances are I'll probably miss it unless I'm very lucky. There are several Yahoo Groups where natural ice skaters can seek each other out: a very active one for the NH - VT area, and another one for the Montana reservoirs. Besides ice conditions, these Yahoo groups facilitate connecting people to enable a buddy system, a key facet of ice safety.
So if you're a skater, check out http://groups.yahoo.com/group/midwest_ice/
Editor - Jim
This blog weighs in on topics such as long-distance skating, the Illinois canals, cycling, and a variety of related (and occasionally not-so-related) topics. I'd like to correspond with others interested in skating the Hennepin and I&M canals.