The Amazing Way Volunteers Built the 'Hotel Saranac' Ice Palace in New York

PHOTO: People pass by the Hotel Saranac ice palace in Saranac Lake, N.Y., Feb. 1, 2015.Mel Evans/AP Photo
People pass by the Hotel Saranac ice palace in Saranac Lake, N.Y., Feb. 1, 2015.

The Hotel Saranac ice castle built by hand in Saranac Lake, New York, is more than just an impressive feat. It’s a super-cool illustration of a bit of New York winter history.

PHOTO: Volunteer John Pietras works on the Hotel Saranac ice palace in Saranac Lake, N.Y.Mel Evans/AP Photo
Volunteer John Pietras works on the Hotel Saranac ice palace in Saranac Lake, N.Y.

Each year, volunteers get together to build an ice palace on Saranac Lake, according to The Associated Press.

That castle is based upon a different theme each time, with this year's modeled after an actual, nearby hotel.

The chilly construction is rooted in tradition. It’s built been built on and off over the decades for the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, a yearly celebration that began in 1897, when Saranac Lake was involved in the “ice trade,” according to the carnival’s website. Saranac Lake and its surrounding towns provided large blocks of ice crucial for preserving food before the invention of modern refrigeration equipment.

PHOTO: Dean Baker and Marilynn Baker fill buckets with water and iceMel Evans/AP Photo
Dean Baker and Marilynn Baker fill buckets with water and ice

The Hotel Saranac is made from ice blocks from its namesake lake. Though many of the construction techniques have been updated since the 1800s, blocks of ice are still retrieved using antique ice saws and pushed ashore by hand, according to the carnival's website. Builders, all of whom are volunteers, pack the space between the blocks with slush and snow with hands protected by rubber gloves.

PHOTO: Dean Baker and his wife Marilynn Baker walk inside the Hotel Saranac ice palaceMel Evans/AP Photo
Dean Baker and his wife Marilynn Baker walk inside the Hotel Saranac ice palace

Construction on this year’s palace began Jan. 22 in order to be ready for a Feb. 7 opening celebration, according to the website, and the palace will be left to melt back into the lake as the weather gets warmer.

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