Yes we have awesome snowmobile trails. Why? Because we have snow, groomed trails and these trails and riders are loving the conditions – to quote “they just aren’t overused.” A fair and balanced amount of traffic keeps the wear and tear on our trails rideable and surprisingly delightful to many who have not gotten in the winter spirit this year. Yes it’s been a mild winter, but Long Lake is winter, and we have snow. Stan from the Ice Farm reports “This is great, you have winter. I didn’t expect to see this” Not a surprise to hear since winter has been so mild outside of our region. “It’s hard to get in the mood for skiing when I’m playing tennis in Cranford, NJ every weekend… outside,” exclaims a note to the Long Lake Tourism email Contact Us page.
So to kick everyone back into winter gear and to celebrate February, Ice and Snowmobiling, The Town of Long Lake hosted it’s very first Ice Fest and turned the Long Lake Logo into a snowmobile to honor our great wintry riding conditions!
On Saturday, February 4th, Stan Kolonko, of the Ice Farm out of Auburn, NY and ice sculpting partner, Hospitality Professor from Syracuse University, Chris Uyehara ate a hearty breakfast to set themselves on a course of installing, designing and carving the five remaining sculptures for Ice Fest.
The Long Lake Diner participated with a patriotic themed eagle in place, a fitting symbol to compliment the Local Veteran’s Dinner sponsored by the Moonlighter’s Snowmobile Club of Long Lake.
Hoss’s warmed guests up with complimentary coffee and delicious chocolates as their Long Lake Bear came to life in ice. Cars heading into town to get the mail and run errands were stopping to watch the Ice Farm team at work. John Hosley even had Stan assist in taking down and replacing the American Flags with vibrant new ones to match the beauty of the bear.
The next installation was sponsored by the Friends of the Long Lake Library. The logo featuring Bear Book ends and a slew of books took front and center on the front porch. As the sun beat down, Stan clued us in that the ice acts as a magnifier, refracting the light and through time the ice will become cloudy. While the light was seemingly the enemy, the cold held on and the blue sky and sunshine added to the terrific ambiance of the day.
The next stop, The Shamrock Motel and Cottages. Stan and Chris enjoyed Pebbles, the dog, and all the spectators including guests staying in Blue Mountain Lake. In addition to the traditional Shamrock, Stan trained our Events Coordinator Danielle Gagnier how to carve using a special chainsaw. Danielle confidently took handle of the blade and carved a heart in honor of Valentine’s Day.
The final installation of the day happened at Mt. Sabattis. Five blocks of ice. 1500 pounds of ice to create the iconic symbol of Long Lake in winter, a snowmobilier flying off a drift. As Stan and Chris finished the sun began to set leaving a glow to set off the vibrancy of the ice.
Expensive tools, chainsaws, chisels, handtruck, a bucket of water and images projected onto newspaper and a lot of years of training and practice for our Culinary Institute of America trained sculptor Kolonko made for a great day and a great weekend.
Sculptures on view in Long Lake and Raquette Lake and lit up for evening viewing. They will be on display until the weather changes and melts everything. Let’s hope that’s a long long long long time from now.