What started with a dad making an ice cave for his cabin-fevered children, turned into one of the largest creations built every year in Heber Valley. The Midway Ice Castles are one of six locations in North America that brings smiles, excitement and wonder to visitors.
This icy invention weighs more than 25 million pounds when finished, but the real question is, how does it become this fairytale ice castle creation?
Ice Castles co-founder Brent Christensen came up with the concept at his residence in Alpine, Utah when his children were bored one winter day and tired of being trapped inside. After moving to Utah from sunny California, he attempted to make his children an ice cave right there in the front yard!
His icy invention was a hit to not only his children but also to kids all across the neighborhood! Then, word spread across town! As many visitors came to their yard to experience the ice cave for themselves, Brent’s children coined this winter wonderland an “ice castle.”
With this beginning, Ice Castles grew to build six locations each year across the country. As a company, Ice Castles strive to create happiness, laughter and unforgettable winter experiences, and the Midway Ice Castles is no different.
Photo Credit: Mary Sivertsen
Each year, the Midway Ice Castles are made entirely by hand. Brent Christensen is the lead artist and architect that makes each year’s castles unique and memorable. A team of 20-40 ice artisans assist Christensen in the building of the castles by making manmade icicles. These workers grow roughly 12,000 icicles every day over the course of two months before the Ice Castles are complete and ready for visitors.
The handmade icicles are harvested for the castle design, making it a reality as each is placed by professional artists. Icicles are intentionally placed to create features including tunnels, slides, fountains, thrones and more. Overall, hundreds of thousands of icicles are made.
Once the castle is finished, it covers approximately one acre in size and weighs over 25 million pounds. The magic of the castles are illuminated with LED lights, frozen inside the ice to make the experience even more radiant and breathtaking.
When the winter weather melts away and the season changes, the Ice Castles are purposefully located next to a natural water source so the ice melts back into the environment.
Photo Credit: Valor McNeely
With a new unique design every year, hundreds of visitors come to the area to view the captivating frozen fortress and experience its interactive activities.
Take your family and friends to walk through frozen tunnels of all sizes, witness the LED- lit sculptures, sit on frozen thrones, race down frozen slides and more. Take the experience one step further and reserve a sleigh ride through Rocky Mountain Outfitters to take you right up to the Ice Castles doors, so-to-speak.
No matter how you arrive at the Ice Castles, make sure to photograph your venture and post it to social media, tagging @hebervalley and using the hashtag #gohebervalley.