Spicer MN- Green lake

We sailed the Western Region Championship regatta on Minnesota’s Green Lake in Spicer, MN., back in 2012. For that one weekend in January the sleepy town of Spicer was abuzz with excitement as “those crazy ice boaters were racing around the lake at freeway speeds.”

Fast forward to 2018. Green Lake is once again being celebrated for its perfect ice. However, it’s not what you think. This year the ice is being harvested, not sailed. St Paul is building an ice castle to celebrate its Winter Carnival (aka “The Coolest celebration on Earth”) and to commemorate Minneapolis hosting the Super Bowl.

To build an ice castle you need ice, and lots of it. But not just any ice. It turns out that the folks that build ice castles are a lot like ice boaters. They too like “champagne ice.” And that’s where Green Lake comes in. Green Lake is prized for its crystal-clear ice. It reflects a beautiful blue hue when hit by light that has been filtered through Minnesota’s frigid winter air.

This year’s ice castle will be big! In fact, it’s guaranteed to be as big as a… castle! Reaching 70 feet in height, crews will use over 4,000 blocks of ice. Each block is massive: 22 inches wide, 44 inches long and weight a back-breaking 573 pounds. It will take over 60 semi loads to transport all that ice to St. Paul. The end result will be a 2 million-pound ice castle.

The ice castle will be open to the public starting January 25. You can visit it when you return from the North American Championships.