ALTON, N.H. – Winter on New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee means ice fishing, hockey tournaments and, if the ice is strong enough, airplanes.
After being grounded by bad ice and worse weather for most of the winter, the Alton Bay Seaplane Base and its ice runway are now open. It's the only ice runway in the lower 48 states approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.
By mid-day on Saturday, more than 50 pilots from all over the Northeast took advantage of a rare, sunny, storm-free Saturday to touch down on the frozen lake. One pilot flew in from New Jersey.
Airport Director Paul LaRochelle says the 3,000-foot airstrip is popular with pilots. He keeps it plowed when the ice is strong enough.