Cold weather means early ice harvest at NH camps

Friday, January 10, 2014
Blocks of ice float in Squaw Cove Thursday Jan. 9, 2014 in Sandwich, N.H. ready to be harvested and put into the ice house at Rockywold-Deephaven Camp. For more than a century ice has been taken from Squam Lake and put in an ice house to be used by summer residents at the camp. More than 3,500 blocks of ice will be stored and stay frozen till summer. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

HOLDERNESS, N.H. (AP) -- The tradition of harvesting lake ice at a New Hampshire campground is off to a cold and early start.

Crews started sawing blocks for the Rockywold-Deephaven Camps in Holderness on Thursday, something they've been doing for more than a century.

Last year, the three-day harvest didn't start until Feb. 6 due to rain, warm temperatures and wind. The recent cold snap made for better ice conditions this year.

Instead of refrigeration units, campers use lake ice packed into insulated ice houses that keep the blocks frozen through summer.

If the ice gets to 11 or 12 inches thick, up to 200 tons are removed. The 16-by-19-inch ice blocks weigh between 120 and 160 pounds each.

Carl Hansen uses a custom designed circular saw to cut into more than a foot thick of ice in Squaw Cove on Squam Lake Thursday Jan. 9, 2014 in Sandwich, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

This year, it's being removed from Squaw Cove, an isolated spot along Squam Lake.

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