Arctica Ice

Arctica and the Ice Caps are the only source for ice in Black Rock City, with proceeds going directly to Gerlach-area charities and community groups.  Expanded to the 3 o’clock portal (Ice Cubed) and 9 o’clock portal (Ice-9) and our original spot in Center Camp, we offer ice to Burning Man participants from 9am to 6pm Monday through Sunday of the event, and from 9am until Noon on Labor Day.


Arctica experienced an incredible and entirely unexpected surge of ice sales in 2006 as evidenced by the need for an additional semi-truck of ice each day bringing Arctica to a total of four trucks per day for the majority of the event; that’s 84.6 tons of ice per day! In true form, Arctica volunteers quickly rose to the challenges required of providing 25% more ice than 2005.  Arctica volunteers melted the longer lines with grace and style and had surprisingly few moments that were close to selling out, especially considering the unexpected increase in demand.  In 2006, Arctica faced two major blocks to its normal efficiency.

The largest of these was the lack of sufficient management resources.  With a sudden and unexpected increase in ice demand, combined with the supervising operations manager fighting an illness, there was quite a bit of scrambling behind the scenes at Arctica.  Both operations managers were required to be on radio and taking care of daily operations for up to 14 hours each day – more than double the hours that were initially proposed.  In 2007 Arctica plans to increase the number of assistant managers to avoid any similar complications and ensure that no one person is required to work more than one 6 hour shift without a shift off.

The second major challenge was Arctica’s noble assistance on behalf of a funded art project after the project’s refrigerated truck rental fell through at the last minute.  The project’s art piece required three 300 lb.  carved blocks of ice every day, Wednesday through Saturday.  Initially, Arctica was excited to be part of the solution for the art project and planned to have the blocks of ice loaded at the back of the truck so not to interfere, until the artists could collect them after sunset.  Soon it was apparent that there was no way to predict whether Black Rock City citizens would buy all of the pallets of ice stacked in front of carved ice allocated for the art project.  Further, it was apparent that Arctica was selling through the ice in the trailers faster than predicted.  Repeatedly Heavy Machinery had to lift the carver blocks out of the way so Arctica could sell ice without having to work around the art project’s ice.  Arctica had to halt sales while the trucks were pulled out of the bay so the hyster could access and remove 900 lbs of ice.

On a warmer note, Arctica received a wonderful face-lift in 2006.  The dedicated Arctica construction team tackled the challenge of turning the functional base structure back into a symbolic igloo.  They opened up the entire front wall to add a fabulous new tunnel entrance that would continue to shade those waiting in line and increase the ease of traffic flow to the counters and exits.  The new concept was to have gateway-style doors that could only be opened in one direction.  The idea was to prevent people from being able to enter through the exits and unknowingly jump to the front of the line; however, the new exit door design was not quite as simple to navigate and Arctica volunteers could not dissuade people from pulling the doors open from the outside and walking right in.  Arctica volunteers are returning to the drawing board to dramatically improve the design in 2007.

Once again Arctica was overwhelmed with an abundance of generosity from the community as expressed through tips.  Inspired by the hope and good will that Arctica contributions made to the Katrina relief efforts in 2005, the majority of Arctica volunteers wished to donated tips to another great cause this year and over $4,000 was donated to Burners Without Borders who will use the funds for relief projects that come up throughout the year.  The proceeds from Arctica ice sales made considerable donations to the following organizations possible: Black Rock Arts Foundation, The Crucible, Leave No Trace c/o Nevada Outdoor Leadership School, Epic Arts, Thick Description, Gerlach Medical Clinic, Empire 4-H Club, Gerlach Volunteer Fire Department, Gerlach High School, Gerlach General Improvement District, Gerlach-Empire Senior Citizens Palace, Reno Crisis Call Center, Friend’s of the Black Rock, Nevada Museum of Art, Nevada Outdoor School, Pershing County Parks & Recreation, Eagle Scholarship, Pershing County Community Center, Lovelock Middle School (Special Education), Pershing County Domestic Violence Intervention, Pershing General Hospital & Nursing Care, Pershing County Humane Society, Lovelock Frontier Days, Lovelock Lion’s Club, Pershing County Friends of the Library, Marzen House Museum, Kid’s, Horses & Rodeos, Lovelock Boy Scouts Association, Lovelock Little League Association, Lovelock Chamber of Commerce, Pershing County Arts Council, The Close Up Foundation, National History Day, and Project Graduation.

Ice Queen
Xandra Green