Each new year, the people of Eagle River hold their breath for the town’s famous Ice Castle. The ice conditions can’t be too thick or too thin, but 2022 has turned out to be the right one.
Eagle River Fire Department volunteers used machines Thursday to mark the ice. They cut nine inches of ice on Dollar Lake. On Friday, then, they’ll hand-cut the remaining three inches and haul blocks of ice to the rail depot – the site of the Ice Castle. Fire Chief Michael Anderson said he expects to be done with the castle by Tuesday.
The 2022 castle was designed by the late Jack Thomas. Thomas had designed the Ice Castle since the 1980s. His family has been involved with the Ice Castle since the tradition began in the 1930s. Anderson wanted to carry on the legacy by using one of Thomas’ designs.
âIt is very important for the family to keep this tradition alive,â said Anderson. “So I do my best to keep the tradition of their family by designing all the ice castles.”
Anderson made the design model from Legos. It has about 2,500 individual pieces – each one represents a single block of ice.
âI’m a visual person,â Anderson said. “I can look at something on paper and not see it. But when I build it with the Legos, I can see what we’re doing. It helps me manage the whole process.”
Ice block cutting will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday on Silver Lake. Volunteers are welcome and are requested to check in at the rail depot. Half-ton vans are required to transport ice from the lake to the depot.
Volunteers are also welcome to help with the construction process, which will take place Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.