This lake transforms into the only approved ice runway in the continental U.S.

Each winter, once Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire freezes to a depth of at least a foot, it becomes a runway for planes. In 2020, a warm winter prevented the runway from opening, but they're back in business this year.

Video Transcript

PAUL LAROCHELLE: We have a ice runway here that is open to the public that is sanctioned by the FAA and the state of New Hampshire.

[ENGINE RUMBLING]

This is where we store all the planes. Once they come and arrive, they land, we help them in control with them to park all the airplanes so there isn't chaos and people not knowing how to park in here and getting a jam.

CAROL NIEWOLA: Ice is slippery.

[LAUGHS]

We get that a lot from the pilots. Weirdly enough, it's like they weren't expecting it to be slippery and it is. Turning, stopping, those are all really difficult moves that are very easy to do out on paved or grass runways, but here on ice it can be very different. And there is a little bit of snow cover on the ice. Like it's just a little bit of grip, but it's not very good.

[ENGINE RUMBLING]

PAUL LAROCHELLE: Well, today we plowed earlier because we won't drive our trucks out here without having at least 12 inches of ice. If we have nine inches here, 12 over here, 10 down there, we don't open. Not until we're even everywhere.

We have 19.5.

Last year, we did not open because that didn't happen. It was one of those winters that was too warm, the ice was sketchy, and it was uneven thicknesses so we didn't open last year.

[ENGINE RUMBLING]