Eagle River’s legendary ice castle has been built once again by the area fire department.
The design is new every year, but the method isn’t: Eagle River deputy fire chief Jim Bonson says the ice harvesting saws and other tools date back more than 80 years.
“We’ve been doing it since 1933 as a community and it just has become a tradition. When we don’t have it, like the last two years due to weather conditions, people get excited when all of a sudden it appears.”
This year fire department crews worked for five days on the icy project. Bonson says the biggest challenge is harvesting 2400 blocks of ice from Silver Lake in Eagle River.
“It is labor intensive, especially in the cold temperatures like we had to work in the last few days. The operation starts, we score the ice. That takes a day just to score the ice. Then the second day is to get the ice out of the lake.”
The next three days were spent building the castle and applying the finishing touches.
At night, the now-completed 25-foot castle is lit up with spotlights.
If temperatures allow, the ice castle is expected to stay up until February.