Cold closes airport, aids Ice Palace

SARANAC LAKE — Continuing subzero temperatures are halting the flow of flights at the Adirondack Regional Airport, preparing Lake Flower for Ice Palace construction and giving the village Department of Public Works a change of pace.


At the Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear, the runway has iced over, preventing planes from taking off or landing. The airport’s broom truck stopped working during the freezing snap.

Airport Manager Corey Hurwitch said the airport is trying to sweep and plow down the edges of the ice to open the runways as soon as possible, but he is unsure when planes will be able to fly through again.

“We’re also a little bit at the mercy of Mother Nature; it’s too cold for us to do some of the things that historically work,” Hurwitch said. “Normally we’ve been able to wet sand and freeze the sand to the ice, but we think that the sand is freezing before it even comes in contact with the ground.”

Ice Palace

Dean Baker, who coordinates the construction of the Ice Palace for the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, said the ice in Pontiac Bay on Lake Flower is currently 8 inches thick, just shy of the 12-inch minimum needed to cut blocks for the palace. He hopes to start cutting by Jan. 18, but a thick layer of snow is hindering the ice’s growth. Baker will need to bring one of the tractor-mounted snowblowers or four-wheeler plows onto the bay to clear the powder off.

Using an 11-inch circular saw from the 1930s mounted on a sled, Baker and a team of volunteers will score around 22,000 2-by-4-foot bricks.

Frozen pipes

Saranac Lake’s Department of Public Works has been busy plowing roads and dealing with equipment slowed by the cold temperatures. When they aren’t out braving the cold to plow streets and perform repairs, department Superintendent Jeff Dora said DPW workers are trying to do more indoor work now, catching up on long-needed organization and getting a jump-start on a bench-building project slated for the spring.

Dora said though they have received several calls about frozen pipes, they have not been faced with many frozen pipes busting so far this winter.

“Stone seems to absorb that cold faster than a concrete foundation, so they’re finding that the pipes are froze right where it comes in the foundation,” Dora said. “The best thing to do is take a small space heater and just apply heat to that location, and heat that rock up so that it lets it thaw out.”