Arctica Ice

Arctica dropped the superfluous Camp designation from its title this year as the team continued to focus on all things sub zero. Returning to its familiar location, the newly shortened name and sign didn’t confuse anyone. Ice flowed out to everyone’s favorite city just as efficiently as the previous year.

In 2005, Arctica lost its senior manager to a vacation on the other side of the world and its lead construction manager from the Department of Public Works (DPW) went to build the Man Base. Operations definitely felt the loss of these two key players, who have helped shape Arctica into what it is today. However, the individuals who stepped up to fill these important roles shone brightly allowing smooth and painless transitions.

Volunteer scheduling continues to get easier each year. With so many returning rock stars and dependable shift managers, Arctica is feeling more and more connected as working relationships grow into friendships. Even the last minute scheduling holes were quickly filled with on-playa volunteers. Those new volunteers almost immediately come to understand what returning Arcticans already know – the importance of participating and gifting. The team deals out enormous quantities of both by volunteering time and smile-laden interactions throughout the week.

Once again, the DPW construction crew built Arctica’s structure in record time. They finished early enough for an additional team to move in and build a new shade structure to the right, where everyone lined up outside the igloo could wait safe from the blazing sun.

Late in the week, long lines snaked down the street in front of Arctica, after a long time with smaller crowds. Whether this surprise occurred due to a rise in population numbers, shifting arrival times, or simply greater demand no one could guess. Concern vanished, however, when numerous shocked and happy customers reported that expectations of ridiculously long wait times weren’t confirmed, as the Arctica team was getting people through the line in 10 minutes or less. Ice supplies ran out once, but just as volunteers began to ask people to buy only the bare necessities, word arrived from the Gate that the next truck was on its way.

Due to obvious variations in the number of people purchasing ice during the day, Arctica planners are considering altering hours of operation for 2006. An increase in morning activity has been accompanied by a distinct decrease in the last hour of evening sales. Any new schedule will be announced and published well before the event.

Worries about a power failure carried over from 2004 proved unfounded. The power never went down without warning. In 2005, it was the registers that gave the most trouble. Some of them have served Arctica for as many as 4 dust-filled years, and they are beginning to develop difficult personalities (expected effects of age and corrosion).

Garbage also continues to plague the Arctica community. At the end of each day, 10 or more people spend up to a half- hour to clean up all the trash left behind during the ice-buying frenzies. A considerable amount of this trash piles up behind the counters. Next year, a strict leave no trace policy will require compliance with the “don’t let it hit the ground” rule.

Unfortunately, moments of difficulty occurred with the safety and security of the Arctica structure. To ensure safety of the operation and all participants, a solution is under development for protecting everyone after sales closes for the evening.

In 2005, Arctica exceeded sales records yet again — no surprise with all the fabulous volunteers and participants who support ice on the playa. And the team was part of the truly beautiful response of Black Rock City to support the victims of Hurricane Katrina. As quickly as the news spread, donation stations were set up in all the centralized structures. Arctica volunteers alone contributed over $4000 in tips to the Katrina relief efforts. (Our hard working crew gets compensated with tips rather than pay.) That act of giving brought great pride to be associated with all the Arctica volunteers and the entire community!

Beyond the Katrina relief donations, considerable donations to the following organizations were made possible:

Black Rock Arts Foundation, The Crucible, Friends of Esprit Park, Epic Arts, Leave No Trace, Nevada Museum of Art, Friends of the Black Rock, Nevada Outdoor School, Gerlach Medical Clinic, Crisis Call Center, Gerlach High School, Empire 4-H Club, Gerlach General Improvement District (GGID), Gerlach Volunteer Fire Department and Gerlach-Empire Senior Citizens Palace, Pershing County General Hospital and Nursing Care, Pershing County Domestic Violence Intervention, Pershing County Humane Society, Lovelock Frontier Days, Lovelock Lion’s Club, Friends of the Library, Marzen House Museum, Kid’s, Horses & Rodeos, Lovelock Boy Scout Association, Lovelock Little League Association, Lovelock Chamber of Commerce and Pershing County Arts Council.

Submitted by,
Xandra Green