There is only one ice runway in the lower 48 states that has the approval of the FAA, and it is on Lake Winnepesaukee at Alton Bay, NH, where it is manned and maintained by a volunteer group of five.
The runway is approximately 100′ wide by 3,000′ long and sits on about 30″ of ice.
There is a taxiway, parking area and even a special area for helicopters. It is only open about three weeks a year during the month of March, and you sure don’t want to miss it because it is something to behold.
I always find it fun to actually walk out on to the ice but did have to chuckle when in front of me was the landing strip and behind me was open water. A real Live Free or Die moment I guess. 🙂
When we arrived there were two planes parked on the ice. For a few minutes, I actually thought it might be a slow morning. When we left, there were 24 planes parked and others still taxiing in and out.
This wonderful event is not only about pilots and their planes landing on ice, but it is very family oriented. It’s free, it’s outdoors, and it’s fun. One dad was sliding his two kids along on a strip of ice while grandpa watched (the runway is right behind grandpa’s shoulder). The bob houses are still dotting the landscape, and there was a family heading out to fish with a little guy riding on the back of the sled carrying their fishing equipment. All over the landscape there were also snowmobilers including these two with their tubes. Fun for everyone.
We were having such a good time watching the planes we decided to have lunch at Shibley’s at the Pier and continue to enjoy the traffic jam of planes landing and taking off while we ate. Good decision and good food – fresh fried haddock sandwich and a wrap with pulled pork.
One thing about New Englanders – they sure do know how to have winter fun. 🙂