The much-awaited 2017 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Ice Palace will be “breaking ice” on Jan 27!
Construction was scheduled to begin as early as January 19, but the Ice Palace Workers had to delay until conditions were right to harvest the ice from Lake Flower, transport to shore, and begin assembling the palace according to blueprints.
Ice Palace Workers building the 2016 Saranac Lake Ice Palace
Ice Palace construction is truly a community effort. Every year volunteers organized by a group informally known as the Ice Palace Workers 101 gather to build the region’s most popular winter attraction. The public is welcome to volunteer, and roles will be assigned based on comfort level, skill, and ability.
Volunteers who help construct the palace are cheerfully dedicated to keeping the tradition alive despite very cold temperatures, the potential for inclement weather conditions, and a job description that literally involves using ice as a building material.
Traditional methods are still practiced, including handling the ice with hand saws and ice tongs, but modern equipment is used for the heavy lifting. Perhaps the most critical manual process, however, is the making of slush – a mixture of water and snow – to form the mortar that holds the Ice Palace together. Volunteers will fill countless buckets with water, pound in snow, carry it to the palace walls, and apply the slush with rubber gloved hands.
The Ice Palace is located adjacent to the Lake Flower State Boat Launch on River Street and is the most popular attraction at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. Construction will continue on the palace until the first day of the festival on February 3, 2017.