Visitors often ask how we create the ice formations that we call ice castles. We start by “growing” more than 5,000 icicles each day that we harvest and sculpt together. Newly placed icicles are then drenched in freezing water. The blend of icicle placement, changing temperatures, water volume, and wind result in an astonishing variety of ice formations. And so all of the beauty you see at the ice castle is a unique blend of an artistic eye and mother nature’s work.
We repeat this process once or twice a day, depending on temperatures. and after about a few weeks of growth we can create very large towers, tunnels, archways, caves, caverns, and safe pathways for pedestrian exploration. Continued development of the structures throughout the winter results in an evolving ice masterpiece.
It all started in Brent’s backyard.
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.
When Brent moved his young family from California to Utah they wanted to do something exciting in the new found cold weather. So of course, like any dedicated father, Brent went to work on an ice rink in the back yard….but not just any old ice rink. This first-time ice rink came complete with a 20′ slide, an ice cave, and a castle like tower reaching 20′ into Utah’s rocky mountain sky. His children affectionately called it the “Ice Castle.”
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.
Since the days in Brent’s backyard we have grown a lot. Now we have full sculpting teams at multiple locations across the US. Here are photos of our team of key players in making Ice Castles come to life.