Welcome to the magical world of ice castles

Hand-built from ice and snow, these sparkling structures surely sprang straight from a fairy tale.

There are ice caves, there are ice hotels … and then there are ice castles. Ice castles, just the description alone is worthy of musing – but then to see them? Or better yet, follow a path into one? Pure magic!

Like the love children of a drip sand castle and an ice storm, the ice castles built by the Ice Castles Project are a beautiful collaboration between humans and nature. With the use of drip pipes abetted by sub-freezing temperatures, the structures are formed. After that, each day a crew of ice-craftspeople adds thousands and thousands of new icicles to the structures as the castles grow and evolve, mix with snow, and practically take on a life of their own.

"Every day thousands of new icicles are formed and added, and the sculpting and coaxing of the ice and snow results in new tunnels and caves, so that the whole castle keeps building and building – until the end of winter," reports Atlas Obscura. "By March, when the icicles start to melt and all the pipes are packed up, the Ice Castles have grown by hundreds of thousands of sparkly, spiky icicles."

A photo posted by Ice Castles (@icecastles_) on


A photo posted by Ice Castles (@icecastles_) on


A photo posted by Ice Castles (@icecastles_) on


A photo posted by Ice Castles (@icecastles_) on


A photo posted by Ice Castles (@icecastles_) on


A photo posted by Ice Castles (@icecastles_) on


A photo posted by Ice Castles (@icecastles_) on

And perhaps the best part of all – when all is said and done, the ephemeral castles vanish, leaving little trace of their former existence. A beautiful playland without a landfill load, a perfect fairy tale ending.

Current locations include Midway, Utah; Lincoln, New Hampshire; Stillwater, Minnesota; Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin; and Edmonton, Alberta – visit the Ice Castles site for tickets and more information.

Also, check out these incredible Victorian ice palaces of Montreal ... really nothing compares to them.

Via Smithsonian

Tags: Nature | Winter

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