Thin ice means no ice palace - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

Thin ice means no ice palace


The warmer weather has halted many winter activities in our area. It's also interfering with a long-stand Northwoods tradition.

More than 700 man hours are used to build the ice palace in Eagle River. It's been done almost every year for the past eight decades.


"Back in the 30s, when everyone was storing ice for the summer, they had excess ice, so somebody got the novel idea to build something with it," Pat Weber, one of the builders of the ice palace said.


Almost 3,000 12-inch thick blocks of ice are needed. They're pulled by hand from Silver Lake. But this year, organizers say the ice just isn't thick enough.


"We just decided that there was no way it was going to happen this year, unfortunately," Weber said.

"We're missing it," Susan Shufelt of Eagle River said.


Every year, the ice palace is built right in the heart of downtown Eagle River. But this year, because Mother Nature didn't cooperate, all that remains is an empty lot.


Those who have come to know the ice palace say it's certainly a sight to see.


"I have no idea how many pictures are taken of it over the course of the 4-8 weeks that it survives," Weber told Newsline 9.


"It draws a lot of people. People like to take pictures of it and they stand next to it. I've seen it busy from morning until night," Shufelt said.


The people who live here say this part of winter tradition is missing.


"We take pride in it ourselves," Weber.


This is the second year in a row the event has been canceled canceled weather.


Organizers say they hope next winter brings colder temperatures, so the ice palace can return.


Winter activities are far from a washout in Eagle River. Festivities kick off this weekend for the two-week snowmobile derby.


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