Coloradans are lamenting the setting in of the bitter cold weather without any deep powder to play in, but there is a silver lining in Steamboat Springs -- the weather is just right for the return of Brent Christensen's stunning ice castle project.
On the Ice Castles blog, Christensen's inspiration for building these majestic ice structures that rely on the cold, a lot of water, a little lighting and, miraculously, no substructures is described.
Brent Christensen is the inventing artist who created the method of building our Ice Castles. This came about one winter as he was searching for new outdoor winter activities for his children. Together they experimented by building ice skating rinks, ice caves, and other frozen creations. One year he wanted to build an ice fort by using only ice. He started experimenting by using icicles as the base structure and through this process created a large ice formation in his front yard. His children called it “an ice castle,” and the name stuck. He built into it a cave, tunnels, and a huge slide with a bank turn on to an ice skating rink.
Christensen begins the process by creating and placing thousands of icicles daily. The Summit Daily reported at last season's event that he used 3 million gallons of water to construct 10-foot walls with 40-foot towers. He writes on his blog embedded inside the walls of last season's ice castle were 200 compact fluorescent bulbs, capable of producing more than 350,000 lumens of light and at night the ice walls glow with ethereal hues of green and blue.
This season's castle sounds like it's even more grand and stunning than in years past. "Upon entering the Ice Castle, visitors will pass ice walls and ice archways to enter the lower courtyard," the castle is described on Christensen's blog. "Groomed pathways will lead guests upward through mesmerizing ice columns, tunnels, towers and more archways–each a stunning photo opportunity of its own. Latticed icicles connect frozen towers to each other. They form 'ceilings,' which result in aquamarine-colored tunnels for visitors to play in and explore. It’s like walking into the interior of a 25,000-ton glacier or a shimmering ice cavern, full of frozen waterfalls and icicle drippings."
Don't miss this event: a $15 adult ticket (13 years and older) or a $10 child ticket (3 years to 13 years) grants admission for a full day (11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.). Children under 3 years old are admitted free.