Ray Weaver and Jim Potocki stand in front of their new puzzle room, Escape the Abominable Snowman.

Courtesy of Downtown Ithaca Alliance

Ray Weaver and Jim Potocki stand in front of their new puzzle room, Escape the Abominable Snowman.

December 12, 2016

Escape Ithaca in Commons Releases New Puzzle Room

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Escape Ithaca — the city’s first interactive, immersive puzzle game at 109 West State St. in the Ithaca Commons — had a ribbon cutting ceremony on Dec. 7 to celebrate the launch of its new Escape the Abominable Snowman room.

Escape Ithaca aims to foster “creativity, team building and human ingenuity” by challenging guests to “60 minutes of isolation where problem-solving, creativity and resourcefulness are the only skills that will set them free,” the release said.

Groups of up to 10 people “decipher clues, unlock boxes, solve riddles and work together to unravel the mystery at hand,” according to Escape Ithaca’s website.

In the new Escape the Abominable Snowman room, participants seek out the help of three elves to capture the snowman and escape the room, according to Ray Weaver, one of the creators of Escape Ithaca.

“We thought, what would be more fun than something with an abominable snowman for the holidays?” Weaver said.

Weaver, an Ithaca resident, explained that he was inspired by an escape room he visited in Syracuse, prompting him to establish one in Ithaca. Weaver and his business partner James Potoki, who is based in New York City, design all the elements of the room themselves.

“We have mental challenges that allow people to try something different, to get out there and work as a team, and accomplish something together,” Weaver said.

Since opening its doors in October, Escape Ithaca has attracted a constant stream of adventure-seekers. Weaver called the business an “incredible and fun journey so far,” adding that up to 400 customers have already come through the room and said they “loved their experience.”

Weaver and Potoki are constantly dreaming up ideas for new escape rooms, developing a new puzzle every three to six months. Their first escape room featured a Harry Potter theme, catering to Ithacans participating in Ithaca’s Wizarding Weekend.

Weaver added that Escape Ithaca tries to support local businesses as well as the environment when constructing its escape rooms.

“We source a lot of our materials from as many local businesses as we can … and frequent the refuse center on a daily basis,” he said.

Escape Ithaca casts a “wide net” and caters to people of all ages, Weaver said.

“Young professionals like myself, as well as college students and even families are really looking for something new and exciting that they can do,” he said. “We are trying to get people off of their computers, smartphones, tablets and exercise their brain a little bit more.”

Weaver said Escape Ithaca plans to switch to a new theme in January after the holiday season.

Cayuga Coins and Willow, a women’s clothing and accessories boutique, also had ribbon cutting ceremonies welcoming the businesses to downtown Ithaca on Dec. 7, according to the release.