After exploring Breckenridge’s breathtaking Ice Castle, I searched for the artist behind this magical place. I contacted Brent Christensen, the founder of Ice Castles, who also built them in New Hampshire and Utah this winter.
Take it away Brent!
“I’m the artist and designer of the layout at each of our three locations, but I rely heavily on our many well-trained, hard working, dedicated employees. Each of our sites took about 4 weeks of working 12-16 (hour) days. Our Breck site has about 10 full and part-time employees, New Hampshire about 15 and Midway (Utah), about 20.”
Fire and ice.
“We are very vigilant about safety. But believe it or not we are more concerned about the walking surfaces than we are about falling icicles. Icicles on the edge of a roof are prone to falling, especially when the sun hits the roof and causes the ice to melt at the union. Icicles hanging from an ice bridge will only melt at the thinnest spot, which is at the bottom. So on very warm days the hanging icicles in the castles will melt and drip away starting at the bottom but they don’t fall off.”
Colored lights change in seconds and add to the drama.
“Snowfall doesn’t damage the castles. It can add a very beautiful elegance to the appearance. Before we continue growing them we usually remove the bulk of the snow by hand or brooms. The most fun part is growing and building. The most laborious part is clearing and grooming the trails on a daily basis. We often have to remove several tons of excess ice from the trails and spend up to 40 man hours per day just to make our trails safe for our guests.”
“Regarding our sites for next year: Unfortunately, I can’t yet say where they will be. We usually finish out the winter and analyze how everything went. We consider weather patterns, traffic patterns, how the city or resort was to work with, etc. You’ll just have to keep an eye on our website.” —– Brent Christensen.
I hope he chooses Breckenridge again next year. His extraordinary Ice Castle can be enjoyed by all ages. It’s amazing that the simple element of water created this art project. It became 20,000,000 pounds of ice!
To see the first photo essay of my tour, click HERE!
Click on photos to enlarge.
Would you like to take the tour?