One and Only

Ice Runway

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.  🙂

B-18 signs

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. 🙂

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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15 Responses to One and Only

  1. Paige says:

    Isn’t it fun???? Glad you had a good time – great photos! : )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Midwestern Plant Girl says:

    Wow! Well, when you’re given 100″ of snow, what do you do? Fly from ice! Pretty cool! Looked like a wonderful afternoon.


  3. Norm 2.0 says:

    So cool! I had no idea there was an ice runway in NH. I would have guessed MN or WI perhaps, but that is really neat 🙂


  4. Joyce says:

    The idea of open water just beyond an icy runway is a pretty interesting scenario! (LOL: “Live free or die right here!”) What a fun gathering place for you hardy New Englanders! I think the sun, the families and the knowledge that winter is nearly over must have lifted everybody’s spirits!
    Less than one month to Easter, two to Mother’s Day!


    • The ice sports up here really are crazy. I was standing next to a pickup truck with a plow attached, taking a photo, looked down, and the ice was cracked. I just had to laugh to myself and keep shooting. What the heck, I figured if I suddenly fell in at least there were plenty of other folks with cell phones to call 911, take a video, and eventually haul my cold self out. But, really, who stands and watches planes landing and taking off when there is open water and cracks in the ice? New Englanders. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Grandma Kc says:

    Now wait — you saw cracks beneath your feet and you just stood there? Crazy talk! But I am glad you did because I love the pictures and your retelling of it all. Those kids must have been having a blast being propelled across the ice! Question — did you get these photos with your new phone? They are excellent!


    • I got the photos with my regular Canon PowerShot Elph 330HS. The sun was shining so bright, I had my Transition lenses which are so dark, and I couldn’t see a thing on the camera screen. LOL I just kept pointing the camera and shooting. There was a maroon colored helicopter that landed and took off, and I ‘thought’ I had a photo of it but when I looked there wasn’t a helicopter anywhere. Just had to laugh. You would have loved it.


  6. Teresa says:

    That is really interesting. That must be quite a landing!


  7. Ogee says:

    Talk about making the best of a snowy situation! Looks like great fun…and now you’ve made me hungry, too!


  8. Annie says:

    I have read about this and someday I hope to see it… not standing over cracked ice though. What do the pilots do after landing? Do they wander up to Shibley’s for a bite to eat or stay on the ice and socialize?


  9. Glad that you took us along! 🙂


  10. Fascinating!



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