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Keeping Cool At The Ice Caves

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By Jay Michaels

Shoshone, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) The Shoshone Ice Caves pull in 13,000 people yearly. But a recent wildfire almost brought the tourist season to a standstill.

Fred Cheslik's family has managed the Shoshone Ice Caves for two generations. At one time, Shoshone residents sold the ice in the cave to keep their beer cold. In the 1960s, Russell Robinson sealed up the end of the cave where it had been blasted open, and the ice began forming again.

Cheslik says, "The ice cave has got about 20,000 tons of ice in it, it's always below freezing. We unravel this mystery while you're on tour, along with a lot of geology and historical information."

The Shoshone Ice Cave gets three-fourths of its annual income during the summer months.

Scott Ward, Manager of the Bear Claw Trading Post, says, "A lot more in the summertime. Basically people heading north to go on vacation. The Ice Caves are open. We really help each other out in that aspect, as far as the amount of traffic up and down the road."

It's about a 15 minute hike across the lava to the ice cave. You'll spend about that long inside, before hiking back out.
You can wear a lightweight jacket, but be aware the temperature can be as low as 26 degrees.

Cheslik says, "You're only in the cold about 15 minutes. So normal attire, whatever you have on is fine. But a cool thing to do in the middle of a hot summer."

It's a great way to beat the heat during these hot summer months. And despite a wildfire that broke out earlier this month less than a mile away, business at the cave remains steady.

Ice cave tours run between 9:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and military, and $6 for kids four through twelve. Children three and under get in for free.

July 23, 2013.


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