IDEAL TOWNSHIP -- It's been a dismal winter for snowmobiling and other outdoor activities.
But an Ideal Township couple taught a North St. Paul Boy Scout Troop this weekend there is more to do on a frozen lake than fish or skate.
Dan and Sharon Jacobson hosted Troop No. 46 at their home on Lake Ossawinnamakee for a weekend of fishing and other winter activities. But the main reason for the trip up north was for the 14 Boy Scouts, ages 11-14, to experience something they had never done before -- build an ice castle.
The Jacobsons are ice castle-making professionals. They started building ice castles more than 10 years ago in Prior Lake as a way to entertain a German foreign exchange student. Last year they created their first ice castle on Lake Ossawinnamakee with help from neighbors, family and friends.
This year Dan's sister, Nancy Anderson, Oakdale, talked her brother into helping her troop build its first ice castle. The troop, including three other troop leaders, spent the weekend at the Jacobsons' home. Some boys and a leader even spent the night outdoors in a tent to receive a Boy Scout patch for sleeping outdoors when the temperature dipped below zero.
Jacobson scored the ice on Lake Ossawinnamakee Friday night, creating about 200 blocks of ice that were about 12 inches thick. Saturday morning the group cut the ice and hauled the blocks by ATV to a spot on shore. Jacobson was worried about building the ice castle on the ice this year because of the unusually warm temperatures.
It took the troop about six hours to build the eight-foot by eight-foot castle, which stands about seven feet tall. The Boy Scout Troop's flag flew prominently in the middle of the ice castle. There were enough ice blocks left so the group made a large ice throne, in addition to the castle.
The ice castle is located on the north end of Lake Ossawinnamakee next to the channel to Kimble Lake. The Jacobsons plan to keep the ice castle lighted each night as long as it remains there. Large 500-watt halogen flood lights will keep the glowing ice sculpture lighted. If you plan to snowmobile to the Jacobsons' to see the ice castle, be aware there is open water this winter in the channel.
"This should last through March," Jacobson said of the ice castle. "The best part is, we don't have to tear it down. Nature takes care of it."
"This was perfect," Anderson said of her troop's outdoor adventure. "The weather couldn't have been better."
"It was heavy having to lift it, but it was fun," said Tyler Sass, 13, Oakdale.
"It was fun cutting them up and putting the blocks together," added Jake Raymond, 12, Maplewood.
Ben Deis, 13, Hudson, said at times it was a little scary being out on the ice when it would crack.
In addition to making the ice castle, the Boy Scouts held a mock Olympic torch ceremony Friday night on the ice with 16 torches made by Jacobson. They also spent a lot of time ice fishing, said Anderson. On Sunday the boys made ice carvings from blocks of ice.
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