Arctica Ice

In 2007, Arctica tackled the challenging feat of expanding from one to three locations. With the addition of Ice Cubed and Ice-9, in (respectively) the 3 and 9 o’clock plazas, we thought that we would have another dramatic increase in ice sales, but we were not prepared for the actual demand, as we watched participants line up outside each of the three locations. Even with the shock of twice the expected demand, the Arctica Team and our vendor rallied together in an amazing last-minute attempt to meet everyone’s icy needs.

The largest challenge was turning the delivery trucks around fast enough to bring more ice to the playa. It takes 5-6 hours for the trucks to travel back to Reno be cleaned and reloaded, and to make the return trip to Black Rock City. Early in the year we estimated how much ice we would need, and set a schedule that allows the vendor to have enough trucks and drivers on hand to match that schedule. For 2007 we estimated that we would see a 50% jump in ice sales, which led the vendor to add two new trailers to their fleet. With these new trailers we believed we would have enough in the rotation to always have two trucks at center camp, one truck at each outpost, two in transit and one spare stored on-playa in case of emergency.

At the beginning of the event it was obvious that we were going to sell more than six trucks of ice per day. The spare emergency truck was immediately put into play and pulled to Center Camp or to the first plaza to sell out. Ice Cubed, in the 3 o’clock plaza, was repeatedly the last outpost to sell out of their second truck. We closed that station early each day, on account of the truck turnaround time crunch. To solve this issue, we have already begun planning to secure the additional trailers and drivers we will need to avoid selling out at either of the outposts in 2008.

Despite our best efforts to predict ice needs, which is based on anticipated population and the previous year’s usage, our old formula didn’t come close to meeting the needs of BRC in 2007, and we are devising a better method to estimate demand. Still, our expansion was a great success. Everyone appreciated the new convenience of purchasing ice closer to their camp, and our volunteers were very enthusiastic about working closer to ‘home’ as well. We can’t applaud our awesome volunteer team enough. The DPW construction team built the original Center Camp structure and the two new structures for the plazas in record time. The six individuals who stepped up to the brand new Ice Ops position, to oversee operations at each location, kept everything running as if we’d been selling ice in the plazas for years. The returning shift managers and four of the new shift managers handled the increase in sales with efficiency and just the right dash of laughter to keep everyone smiling. For the first time, we did have to let two of our newest shift managers go, since they arrived with attitudes that did not gel with our long-standing positive work ethic. By the middle of the week we found a couple of wonderful individuals who stepped right into those vacant spots and took to it like penguins to a glacier. And finally, we proved that two Ice Queens are definitely better than one – as each was on the job for 12 hours every day of the event, supporting our vendors and volunteers in the push to get as much ice into the hands of the public as possible.

Looking ahead to 2008, we need to add a few more key volunteers to lessen those Queenly workloads and support the whole operation. We are in need of dedicated escorts to help guide the ice trucks into the city, decor manager(s) for all 3 locations, sound geek(s) to set up and maintain our new sound systems that kept our crews motivated and groovin’, engine mechanic(s) to help maintain the refrigerated trailers, commercial truck drivers and a couple fabulous documentarians who would like to experience the inner workings of Arctica.

With awe-struck pride, we’re happy to relate that two years worth of our community’s generosity in tips was passed on by our volunteers. All together Arctica volunteers made a donation of $10,762 to Habitat for Humanity.

The proceeds from this year’s ice sales made donations to the following organizations possible: Nevada Museum of Art, Friends of the Black Rock; Nevada Outdoor School; Reno Crisis Call Center; Gerlach Medical Clinic; Empire 4-H Club; Gerlach Volunteer Fire Department; Gerlach High School; Gerlach General Improvement District (GGID); Gerlach-Empire Senior Citizens Palace, Marzen House Museum; Pershing County Arts Council; Pershing County Domestic Violence Intervention; Pershing General Hospital & Nursing Care; Pershing County Friends of the Library; Pershing County Humane Society; Pershing County Community Center; Pershing County; Lovelock Boy Scouts Association; Lovelock Little League Association; Lovelock Special Olympics; Lovelock Chamber of Commerce; Lovelock Frontier Days; Lovelock Lion’s Club; Kids, Horses & Rodeos; the Close Up Foundation; National History Day; Project Graduation; the Eagle Scholarship; Black Rock Arts Foundation; The Crucible; Leave No Trace/NOLS; Epic Arts and Thick Description.