Frozen fortress: Edmonton ice castle will return

An icy kingdom will once again gain a foothold in Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park.

'Ice Castles are one of the most unique and beautiful places on Earth,' says creator

Complete with tunnels, an ice slide and waterfall, the massive structure will be ready for visitors by late December. (Sam Scholes)

Again this year, a massive frozen fortress will gain a foothold in an Edmonton river valley park.

Ice Castles LLC is returning to Edmonton's Hawrelak Park to construct another massive winter wonderland, in partnership with the City of Edmonton and the Silver Skate Festival.

The Narnia-like structure will be crafted entirely by hand, using only icicles and water. Visitors will be able to tour a towering throne room, an ice slide, a waterfall and a winding ice maze.

Construction will start in November. The attraction will be open to the public from late December through March, or until it melts.

Last year's castle weighed in at 27,200 tonnes. It featured millions of icicles and stretched over an acre of snow.

Ice Castles are the creation of American ice artist Brent Christensen, who began building his first castles years ago with little more than a garden hose.

"Ice Castles are one of the most unique and beautiful places on Earth," Christensen said in a statement.

"It has been amazing for me to see the transformation from building a small ice structure in my backyard in Utah to the massive interactive sculptures we are building now. What's really special is that every visitor gets a distinctive experience.

"There is nothing like this anywhere."  

Tickets will be available at www.icecastles.com.
With equipment malfunctions slowing construction of the massive ice structure, crews have been forced to use picks and shovels to get the job done 1:20