Finally! We are ready to announce that this winter the Ice Castles will come to Minnesota, locating next to the Mall of America!
Another Ice Castle will be built at Ski Time Square, at the base of Steamboat Springs Resort in Colorado!
We couldn’t be more thrilled with these two locations for this winter. We’ll start growing ice any day now, so keep checking in to see photos of this years Ice Castles as they begin to form.
At the ice castle, we watch the forecast religiously. This year we’ve found that most days are warmer than projected (especially if sunny). Yesterday was nearly 60 degrees and today is even warmer. A good portion of the new ice that we froze over the last week is melting and will be gone by Monday. We sincerely wish we could stay open, but we want to make sure that if we are open the experience is the best that we could offer…and with all the melting that is happening, we’re starting to cross the line of feeling like we are providing the best possible experience for our guests. Because of this we have decided that the last day that the Ice Castles will be open will be Sunday March 25th.
For those who have purchased tickets through Groupon, we have extended the expiration date of the tickets from March 31, 2012 to December 31, 2012. This will allow you to come see the ice castle when it is fresh and frozen. Please watch our website next winter to see when we will open.
Is it worth coming this weekend? The ice towers are still 30′ tall, the tunnels through the large tower are very much the same as they were in January or February. Most of our recent guests have told us that they wish the weather was colder so that the ice was not melting so much, but they still loved the ice castle experience. Others have felt that the melting of the ice decreased from the experience. The feedback from the night time when the ice is lit up has remained overwhelmingly positive. The after dark experience of the ice is very similar now to what it was like during the peak of winter – the main difference being that the temperature now is in the 30′s after the sun goes down, rather than in the low 20′s to mid teens in January and February.
If you do decide to come, the price has been reduced to $5 per person. Wear boots that can get wet. As the water drips onto the snow walking surface, it creates slush that you’ll be walking through during the day. At night it isn’t as wet, but you’ll still want boots.
We sincerely wish that we could stay open longer, and it is a melancholy experience for us to watch our work of art and labor of love melting so quickly. Thank you for understanding.
The photos below were taken at 2pm today.
Update – March 22nd
We’ve had a lot of questions about how the Ice Castle is doing and if we are open this weekend. We have had a great past four days and have grown back a lot of the ice that melted last week. We just took the photo below about an hour ago (1pm MST on Thursday).
As you can see there are new icicles that are long and they are frozen on top of the towers that became more frosty rather than crystal-like from the heat last weekend.
Next week is going to be WARM. We will post regular updates both to this blog and also to our Facebook Page so that those of you who are planning a visit can best plan for what to expect at the ice castles.
Click to see our Facebook page:
We are getting a lot of questions about how much longer we will stay open. We will definitely be open this weekend and next weekend and we plan to remain open for the last weekend of March, that of the 31st.
More explanation: We estimate that the ice castle is now composed of 7,500 tons of ice. Last week we added another 60 tons of ice. We estimate that about 1 – 5 tons of ice will melt on a warm day (depending on cloud cover, wind, temperature, etc.) As soon as the sun goes down, temperatures have been quickly dropping back to freezing and sometimes even down to 15-19 degrees. When this is the case we are actually able to grow more ice at night and usually more than will melt in 2-3 days.
One of the most interesting things we notice as we create these ice formations is that they are always changing. Throughout the season – even in temperatures of 10 degrees – the ice structures are constantly evaporating and even moving at a glacier like pace. The movement can’t be seen in a week, but over several weeks or a season we notice it. The warm weather that we are experiencing now accelerates these changes, especially on the south side of the structures (which face the sun). The south side of the ice structures will show more evidence of evaporation while the north side of the structures retain a look more similar to cave formations with crystal like properties.
You will notice in the photo immediately below that the walkway is wet. These above average warm days will cause the ice to drip and will result in walkways that are wetter than normal, so when you come you will want to wear shoes that can get wet.
Here are a couple recent photos of the ice castle (and one with green for St. Patrick’s Day!)
With all this warm weather that we’ve had in Silverthorne we have received several emails regarding the status of the Ice Castle. This post is to provide some information as to how we see the rest of the season.
Today’s 10 day forecast (as of March 6th) shows that we’ll have a lot of warm days and cold nights with daytime highs in the high 30′s to low 40′s and nights in the low 20′s to high teens.
If this holds fairly accurate, it is a great weather pattern for us to switch from Ice Castle growth mode to maintenance mode. The cold nights allow us to freeze back what dripped off during the day. We won’t grow much ice to increase the height of the ice castle, but the water we run at night will keep the ice fresh and will replace what we drip off during the day.
Our hope and plan is to stay open through the month of March. If we continue to have cold nights, as is forecasted, then we should be able to do this. However, if the nighttime lows start reaching into the 30′s, then we may not be able to remain open the entire month.
So if you are planning to visit the Ice Castle in the month of March, we suggest that you do so in the next two weeks. We plan to be open for another three weeks at least, but we will have to see if the weather will cooperate.
We’ll keep the blog and Facebook page updated if this appears to change. If you have a question that we have not answered, please post to our Facebook wall so that everyone can see the question and the answer. Thanks!
This video was shot at the Ice Castles during the first week of February. It was COLD! Lindsey is an amazing musician. We can vouch for the fact that she can play beautiful music in 5 degree snowy weather!
As of the date of this post, her video has well over 3,000,000 hits in 4 days and is listed as the top video in the daily most watched music category on Youtube, which is quite an accomplishment. Enjoy!
Snowy nights make for some of the best photo opportunities at the Ice Castles because of the color created in the sky. The sky was like this for about 25 minutes. Here are some photos that Ryan took last night.
Our parking lot near the ice castle is filling up today, and we expect it to be very full tonight through Monday night. The easiest place to park is going to be in the Outlet Mall parking lot, right by the Bass and Carters outlet stores. You can see two small maps that show how to get from the ice castle to the the parking lot. One of the maps is a handout that we give to people to show where the restrooms are, which is the same place as the outlet mall parking lot. This post should print on one page if you need to bring it with you. Thanks!
Here is a post from Parent pages. It is a great article, well written and realistic. Consistent with what is written in the article, we sometimes see people come up to the front of the ticket booth and we can see by the look on their face that they were expecting something different. But after they go through, the look of concern has generally changed to a smile. We like that. Enjoy the article:
One day, while meandering around the web, mindlessly clicking here and there, I somehow stumbled upon The Ice Castles at Silverthorne. I was immediately fascinated and got right on the horn to find someone who might share my now urgent obsession to go investigate this ice dripping marvel. Score!
Now as many of you may know, Silverthorne is a decent drive…about 2 ½ hours from Fort Collins and that’s on a clear, non-ski-worthy day…so we had lofty expectations. The pictures looked great…it was unique, nothing we’d ever seen…and we were headed to the mountains with the sole purpose of being in ‘awe’.
When we pulled into Silverthorne we realized that neither of us, in all of our excitement, had remembered to print the directions, but hey, it’s an Ice Castle right?…how hard could that be?There were indeed signs posted along the roadside, but to be honest, we could have easily driven by and not given it a second thought. From the car we were unimpressed. Our first reaction: “that’s it??” It looked like a massive, sun glinting, crystal dream on the web…how could that be “it”? By now, I had Googled it on my phone, found the directions, information on parking and was happy to discover that you can park within 20 feet of the main entrance. Good thing ‘cause it was COLD.
As we approached the small office that sits out front, we were a little worried. Had we been duped? We paid our $10 entry fee and asked for a tour (one had been offered via our Facebook page). We entered through a large icicle encrusted arch and despite our proprietary voice shouting ‘listen to your tour guide!’ the cameras seemed to jump from our pockets. We kept apologizing, “we’re listening, sorry”, but our actions ratted us out. Each step seemed to offer a new photo op, a new discovery of this unique art form. With sun dancing on icicles; your imagination starts to hum. Inside, we were antsy to start discovering on our own. When set free, without a word, we drifted into our own paths of exploration. What appeared to us as “small” just 10 minutes earlier seemed to grow and stretch our imaginations….click here for the rest of the story
Please note that the article shows that the Ice Castle is closed on Sunday, but we are actually open on Sunday as is shown on this page. Thank you!