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Will 'Ice Castles' Attractions Be Harder to Build in a Warming World?

Climate
Will 'Ice Castles' Attractions Be Harder to Build in a Warming World?
A man takes pictures during media tour before the Grand opening of Dillon Colorado's Ice Castles Dec. 21, 2018. Andy Cross / The Denver Post / Getty Images

In the movie "Frozen," Queen Elsa magically creates a palace made of sparkling ice. For Brent Christensen, making an ice palace is harder, but the results are still enchanting.


"We try to create what feels like an otherworldly experience," he says.

Christensen is the founder of Ice Castles. His company builds elaborate ice structures that tower up to 40 feet high.

They start by making thousands of icicles, which they fuse together and then spray repeatedly with water.

"So given a month of good cold weather, we can create some pretty massive structures," Christensen says.

Low temperatures are good for building, but visitors dislike extreme cold. So the company's sites in Utah, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin are in areas that often hover near 32 degrees.

"Some years it's really cold, some years it's not, and we just kind of hold our breath and work with what we have," Christensen says.

Last year, the Wisconsin location's opening was delayed because the ice was melting. And climate change is bringing more warm days.

"Long term, definitely, if I were to pass this down generation to generation, we'd be moving further north I'm sure," Christensen says.

But for now, he is coping with the uncertainty. And this year his team was able to build ice castles fit for Queen Elsa herself.

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

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