SUBSCRIBE NOW AND SAVE 3 months just 99¢/month



Fast-moving ice shelf slams into Otter Tail County resort

All day, instead of working on cabins, the maintenance crew at Fair Hills Resort on Pelican Lake were in the water, pulling out several docks and boat lifts.

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — Workers at Fair Hills Resort had to scramble to get the docks and boat lifts out of Pelican Lake on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

It's not a sound or sight resort employee Nate Knoll is used to when he shows up to work at the Fair Hills Resort along Pelican Lake: a sheet of ice slamming into docks.

"(I was) feeling helpless because (there's) nothing you could do but watch it collide into the docks," he said.

Knoll, along with a co-worker, immediately started getting the resort's docks and lifts out of the water as a fast-moving ice shelf crashed against the shores.

"I could tell it was lifting it (the dock) a little bit. It was just kind of an eerie feeling," said Knoll.


All day, instead of working on cabins, the maintenance crew were in the water, pulling out several docks and boat lifts.

"(I) didn't think we'd would be in the lake," said resort worker James Anderson who did not think he would be working in the water in December.

For the past decade, the resort has left the docks in the water without any issues, saying it's a hassle to pull them out. For the second time this year, they have been forced to pull them out.

"(The ice) twisted our docks to pieces," said assistant manager Steve Kaldahl, referring to a similar situation that happened in March 2021.

That March, the ice twisted the resorts docks like twigs. It took three weeks to repair them and cost nearly $10,000.

The resort relies on an aeration system to help fortify the shoreline along with the docks and lifts, but says just like the in the spring the ice glided in too fast Wednesday morning.

"We're lucky it came in at 8 o'clock this morning, and not 2 o'clock in the morning, or we would have never known about it, and who knows what it would have done," Kaldahl said.

The resort is spreading its story to those in the lakes area.


"Even though you don't have your docks in, this ice could push up into boathouses, your pontoons, whatever is sitting along the shore," Kaldahl said.

Knoll said it felt weird being in the water in December but still felt good after a long, sweaty day at work.

"Honestly, it's been kind of fun being in the water on a nice day," Knoll said. "(I'm) hoping for summer again."

What to read next
Members Only
Dave Vacha has carried his childhood hobby of building snow and ice structures into adulthood.
There were six consecutive days when it was never warmer than -9 degrees.
The average number of blizzards in a winter is three.
The interstate was reopened shortly after 8:30 a.m. Saturday.