Ever year a crystalline palace rises proudly as a celebration of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival in upstate New York. The 10-day festival includes sports, performances, parades and spectacular fireworks, but the Ice Palace is without a doubt the main attraction. Made by volunteers over a period of two weeks, the frozen architectural piece is constructed from 400-pound ice blocks harvested from Lake Flower’s shore.

In the early days the ice blocks were cut by horses pulling an ice “plow” back and forth. These days power saws and machines are employed for the initial deep ice cuts and finished off manually with antique ice saws. The mighty fortress will be finished by February the 1, 2014 and will feature ice furniture and glittering sculptures among tunnels, dragons and mazes, all within this year’s Celtic Theme.

+ Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

Photos by Mark Kurtz