Ice Castles in Midway now under construction
It’ll be another three to four weeks before the Heber Valley Ice Castles open for the season, but in the meantime, presale tickets are on sale.
Construction on the popular ice attraction in Midway got underway a couple of weeks ago. Founder Brent Christensen, who patented the process he used to build a winter playground for his kids, first opened the attraction in 2011. Today there are five locations across North America.
The icicles that make up the castles are hand-built one by one. They’re made by spraying water on hundreds of racks set up that icicles can grow off.
The weather has to be just right – under 20 degrees for more than just a couple of hours - to make that happen.
“If we're in single digits every night then it doesn't get above freezing during the day, we can really make a lot of progress,” Christensen said. “But typically, in Utah, it'll take us about between three and four cumulative weeks. So, we started in November, this year, we had a good early start. Today, this is a little milder, we can't spray water, we might take a few days here that we have to not build and grow. And it'll get cold, and then it may warm for a couple of days. So sometimes it'll take us four weeks. But it really varies from year to year.”
At any given time, there are 20 to 25 ice artists working to build the castles – but there’s a lot more support crews involved, the mechanics, the ticket crew and event staff.
While it would be great to be open before Christmas, he says that probably won’t be the case.
“Typically, the weather doesn't allow us to open that early, Christensen said. “Usually, it's after Christmas, sometimes around New Years, sometimes later, sometimes earlier. So, we really can't say until we get within a week. We have to be really careful about when we when we forecast that because people will show up, I drove from California, so you're gonna be open on Christmas. So typically, we're not open by Christmas, we would love it if the weather cooperated. And we're able to do that. But we'll do we'll do the best we can with the temps we get.”
Since they’re not sure when opening day will be, it’s only tickets for dates in January and February that are on sale now. And visitors beware – the wrong clothing could make or break the experience. Christensen says many visits are cut short because people don’t wear the proper footwear or clothing for having fun on the ice and snow.