An early snowfall, which made ice conditions questionable, is to blame for the cancellation of the 14th annual Breezy Point Ice Fest scheduled for Jan. 12.
"We decided to cancel it for this year," said Dave Gravdahl, Breezy Point Resort general manager. "We weren't sure what was going to happen with the ice. It doesn't look good. We are going to come back bigger and better next year."
Flooding was one of the main concerns with ice conditions just below the snow layer slushy and unpredictable. With all the vehicles typically parked on the ice for the event, Gravdahl said there could be a lot of flooding.
"Some spots were safe and some were very questionable," he said.
The weather hasn't been cooperative in recent years for Ice Fest. This is the third year in a row that weather hindered the event. Last year, the annual Ice Fest continued but two main events - the Power Ice Auger World Championships and the snowmobile radar runs - were canceled.
"Every year before that we've been fine," Gravdahl said. "Wait 'til next year."
This early January weekend was picked for the annual event because it was a quiet time after the holidays. Gravdahl said great professional sledders typically attend because they don't have conflicts with other meets. He said past events have had snowmobiles going 160 mph in a 1,000 feet stretch.
The resort fills up for the weekend, Gravdahl said with options for entertainment in the area both on and off the ice. The Jan. 12 weekend is still expected to be full at the resort with activities, including skating on the ice rink, but the Ice Fest activities on Pelican Lake will not be included this year.
Ice Fest is set on Pelican Lake in front of Breezy Point Resort. The event includes the Breezy Point area businesses, area sporting companies, a variety of groups and organizations in Breezy Point and Pequot Lakes.
The resort reported in the 14 years of the event there have been three without the proper ice conditions. Ice needs to be 14-16 inches for the main ice events.
At least 4 inches of clear new ice is recommended by the DNR for foot travel, 5 inches minimum for ATV and snowmobile travel and 8-12 inches for cars and small trucks.
On Dec. 24, a Breezy Point woman's pickup broke through the ice in 4 feet of water about 40 feet out from Stewart's Bay public access on the north end of Pelican Lake. The driver, Mary Cuffe, wasn't injured. Holes augered through the ice in the area where the pickup went in indicated how unpredictable the ice was as there was as much as 18 inches of ice nearby.
The early December snow, an unusual event in recent years, was welcomed by many. But in terms of securing good ice conditions, Gravdahl said "it was too much of a good thing."
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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