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Blog :: 02-2015

Ice Bootcamp Gains Momentum in Massachusetts

You don't need a gym membership for this one, just some gigantic New England ice dams and the will to keep the water on the outside of your house.

For the Ice Death Bootcamp you need four 50# bags of calcium chloride, 4 feet of snow, an 8' step ladder, a 12 foot roof rake, an axe, and of course, 16" ice dams. Here's the drill:

Day 1: Flat roof shoveling
Clear half your flat-roof garage of the almost 4 ft. of snow using a shovel and a wheelbarrow. You'll need to haul this gear up to the flat roof. While clearing the roof, be sure to dump snow off the back -- you'll need the 10 foot pile of snow for Day 2. This event will not be held if the outside temperature is above 15F.
When complete, get a beer and try not to feel too good about what you got done. Day 1 is cake compared to Day 2.
Day 2: The main event
- Finish clearing snow from the flat roof in 2 hours or less, then stow your gear.
- Unload the 4 50# bags of calcium chloride from the back of your car and do 10 step lunges with each bag held against your chest.
- Break for lunch
Ice Dam Challenge
1. Climb up on the flat roof and then down to the back (all the back doors are blocked with snow anyway). Break trail through 4 ft. of snow the length of the house in back (2 passes).
2. Return to the front by climbing back over the garage for each piece of equipment, as follows:
- Roof rake
- Ladder
- Axe
- 5 gal. bucket filled with ice melt (deductions for any spillage)
3. Retrace your steps on the newly broken trail with each piece of equipment:
- Carrying the 8 foot ladder overhead (snow's too deep to carry at your side). Deductions for touching the snow with the ladder.
- Carrying a 5 gal. bucket filled with ice melt with both arms up against your chest. If you fall over and spill, restart at the front of the house.
- Axe held overhead like you're an infantryman crossing a rice paddy
- Roof rake held vertical like a medieval pikeman
Place each piece of gear in the designated zone.
4. Now, take roof rake and clean the entire roof six feet up the eave, starting at the east end of the house.
5. Now, set the ladder at the east end of the house, climb to the third from top step, and rake another 6 feet of snow from the eave to expose the back of your magnificent second-level ice dams. Repeat down the length of the house, moving and resetting the ladder as you go.
6. Return to the east end of the house . Reset the step ladder -- bonus points for the added weight of snow/ice on the ladder as you struggle to control it in 4 ft. of snow and uneven footing.
7. Taking your axe, climb to the third-from-top step, and take 25 full force blows on the thickest ice dam. Bonus points for loosening ice chunks of greater than 25#. Point deductions for knocking yourself off the ladder, but bonus points, if that happens, for keeping your grip on the axe as you fall into the 4 ft. of snow. Double points for landing face down.
8. Now, cut channels in your ice dams every four feet, the length of the house. When complete, return axe to equipment zone.
9. Reset the ladder at the east end of the house. Take your 5 gal. bucket filled with ice melt and climb back to that 3rd from top step. Using the scoop, fling ice melt as far down the roof as you can, being sure to land the granules above the ice dams. Alternate left and right hands. After emptying the bucket, climb down, then climb back over to the front of the house with the empty bucket, refill with ice melt, and return to the back, climbing over the house with the bucket.
10. Repeat 5 times to cover the ice dams with ice melt.
11. Stand under one of your 6 foot icicles and allow the now rapidly flowing meltwater to drain down your neck, inside your parka for 15 seconds.
Congratulations, you've survived Ice Death Bootcamp. Maybe just barely, so here are some nearby places that do deep muscle massage:

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