Ice castles are the newest way for tourists to have some frozen fun this winter. Folks from all over are heading to Lincoln, New Hampshire, Breckenridge, Colorado, and Midway, Utah to see designer Brent Christensen’s dazzling creations for themselves.
Christensen, oddly enough, now lives in Hawaii, but began his Ice Castles company several years ago in his backyard in Utah. He had spent many years building towers and slides out of ice for his kids to play around on in their backyard. He began spraying wooden frames with water which turned out beautiful towers, but once the wood thawed in the spring it made for a rather large mess. The following year he began to build an igloo, using small blocks of ice. To this he added additional snow and ice to create the feel of an actual tower.
Each ice castle begins with the forming of over 5,000 icicles. Once the icicle has been properly placed on the castle it is drenched with water. Lather, rinse, repeat, every day for weeks until the castle has been formed. While the icicles are placed strategically on the towers, the end result may change due to the wind and chilly temperatures.
The ice castles in Midway, Utah has towers of ice that reach sky high. Visitors are able to walk through the frozen arches and tunnels. The castle boasts gorgeous shimmering yellow, blue, and white light during the day and a multicolored glow once the sun sets and the lights are turned on. Castle builder and site manager Dan Beck says that people are astounded by what they see. He has seen many jaws drop with awe upon first viewing the ice castle. Beck reports that it takes over a month to build the castle, spending many long hours achieving its frozen perfection. Hopefully, if the weather stays cold, they will be able to add some new features.
In Breckenridge, Colorado, the ice castle at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center has been opened since December 26th. This dazzling creating features frozen thrones, archways, and a twenty-foot-long tunnel that children can crawl through. Thousands of LED lights illuminate the path and gives the tunnel a warm glow.
But the most impressive is the ice castle at Loon Mountain in Lincoln, New Hampshire. This ice castle began back in the fall when a sprinkler system was installed. Once the cold weather hit, the icicle making process began. Thousands were created and harvested daily. After a few weeks you could see the archways, tunnels and caves take shape. The Loon Mountain ice castle has an enclosed slide, a waterfall, and over 50 towers throughout. The entire castle is lit up by LED lights that are embedded into the ice and change color over time. The castle walls that started out between 8 and 20 feet may very well reach heights of 60 feet within the next month. The ice castles will continue to take shape until the March thaw.
Tourists who are looking for something to jazz up their dreary winter months should check out the frozen fun that is the ice castle. Better get there fast before they all melt away.
By Mary Kay Love