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Ice harvest at camps in Holderness earlier than usual

An annual tradition of harvesting lake ice at a Holderness camping area is happening earlier than usual this year, thanks to the very cold weather.

For more than 100 years, crews have been removing blocks of ice for the Rockywold-Deephaven Camps. Campers have shunned refrigeration units, instead opting to use lake ice to pack into insulated ice houses that maintain the ice through the summer.

When the ice off the shore becomes 11 or 12 inches thick, up to 200 tons are removed. Last year, crews took the ice from the Deephaven Peninsula on Squam Lake. This year, it’s being removed from Squaw Cove, a more isolated spot along the lake.

“It feels more remote there, and we are more sheltered from the wind,” said camp co-manager John Jurczynski.

The ice blocks weigh between 120 and 160 pounds each and are stored. The blocks are 16 by 19 inches.

Camp officials told the Citizen the harvest is starting today and should take three days.

Last year, it started Feb. 6 due to rain, warm temperatures and wind.

The process involves the ice being cut with a rotating blade on wheels, then cut with a chain saw. Ice cakes are moved in a line toward a pulley system, where they are loaded onto a truck.

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