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The Huffington Post  |  By Posted:  |  Updated: 12/05/13 EST

These Ice Castles Make All Other Castles Irrelevant

Just forget about every other castle ever, because these ice castles make everything else pale in comparison.

Where did these stunning ice sculptures that would make even Superman rethink the design of his Fortress of Solitude come from? From the beautiful mind and hands of artist Brent Christiansen.

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 on the Ice Castles blog:

In order to understand the ice castle, there are a couple things you need to know about Brent, the creator of the Ice Castle. You need to know that Brent is an artistic genius and an amazing, dedicated dad. The combination of these delightful traits mixed with moving his family from California to Utah combined with a dash of stir-crazy cabin fever were the ingredients that made up the the beginnings of the ice castles.

Although the first ice castle was a winter hit –- it was springtime disaster waiting to happen. You see, Brent built the frame of the slide, tower and cave out of wood and made the ice by sprinkling the wood scaffolding with water. After cleaning up the splintered remains of that first winter, he spent the summer thinking that there had to be a way to create Ice Castles by just using ice. By the time cooler temperatures again arrived he was outside working through a method, that he later patented, to create ice towers, tunnels, and archways by using icicles as the base scaffolding on which to spray water. ”Ice just works a lot better,” he is fond of saying.

Sculpted carefully by hand, each ice castle is an original work of art that evolves throughout the winter as ice sculptors develop each structure for weeks.

Christensen or a member of his crew begins the process by creating and placing thousands of icicles daily. The Summit Daily reported that at 2012's event in Colorado, Christiensen used 3 million gallons of water to construct 10-foot walls with 40-foot towers. Embedded inside the walls of the 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.

See them for yourself if you're fortunate enough to live in Colorado, New Hampshire or Utah (opening dates vary for each location), or check out some of the cold masterpieces below:

  • (photo: Joseph Schufman)
  • (photo: Massimo)
  • (photo: Ashleigh Rachael)
  • (photo: Katherine Silus)
  • (photo: Ryan Davis)
  • (photo: Gina Kelly)
  • (photo: Katherine Silus)
  • (photo: Liz Nemmers)
  • (photo: Jen Cherry Millard)
  • (photo: Bill Linfield)

All photos courtesy of Ice Castles/Ryan Davis.

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