Lake Winnipesauke transformed into a landing strip for airplanes when the thickness of the ice allows it.


Jim Cole / AP / SIPA

This is not possible every year, but this winter the cold snap was such that the event could happen again.

In the state of New Hampshire (USA), Lake Winnipesauke froze so solidly that it could be turned into an airstrip.

Nearly 800 m long, the runway can only open when the ice is at least 30 cm thick, explains Paul LaRochelle, responsible for this temporary airport.

It is also the only ice airport approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US air transport agency.

VIDEO: A 2,600-foot runway is open to the public in Alton Bay in Lake Winnipesaukee, in the US state of New Hampshire.

The runway is built on the frozen lake as soon as there is at least 12 inches or more of solid ice evenly distributed through the bay area

- AFP News Agency (@AFP) February 22, 2021

Delicate maneuvers

“We don't drive our trucks so far if we don't have 30 cm of ice,” explains Paul LaRochelle, who goes out every day to measure the thickness of the ice.

"If we have 22 cm there, 30 cm there, 25 cm yet in another place, we do not open.

This weekend, the ice was 50 cm thick.

Opened in mid-February with staff from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, the runway has already seen several aircraft land, not without difficulty.

“The ice is slippery,” says a manager.

“A lot of pilots say so.

[…] Turning and stopping become difficult maneuvers, although they are very easy to do on paved tracks or with grass.


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