Growing up in a very small town in the late 60s and early 70s, that was pretty true. I have winter memories of walking through the woods to Manning's Pond, which was essentially a small patch of frozen water beyond the local golf course. This was way back before the days of protective helmets and hovering parents.
Our method of testing to be sure the pond was frozen was to send the chubbiest of our friends across the water first. If he stayed up and the ice didn't crack, we were good to go. (Is it too late to apologize for that, Victor?)
There were no triple Salchows or triple axels out there in the woods. We were lucky just to stay upright with the bumps & sticks embedded into the icy surface, but we felt adventurous and we would end our chilly trek at one or another's house with hot cocoa and mittens drying on radiators.
off to manning's pond