Cold Weather Means Early Ice Harvest at NH Camps

By the Associated Press | January 9, 2014 | 8:34 PM EST

Douglas Adams, left, gets ready to grab a sliding block of ice as Parker Hansen stacks in the ice house at the Rockywold-Deephaven Camp in Holderness, N.H.,Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. For more than a century ice from Squam Lake has been used to keep ice boxes cool for summer residents at the camp. (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.

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