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Frigid Fantasy

A Utah-based artist brings his massive, ethereal ice sculptures back to the Wasatch

By Park City Staff January 1, 2015 Published in the Winter/Spring 2015 issue of Park City Magazine

Frigidfantasy h5kado

Image: Sam Scholes

Imagine an acre-sized winter wonderland resembling frozen waterfalls, glaciers, and ice caves found only in nature’s most remote and hard-to-reach places. Well, imagine no more. Ice Castles (—the enormous, fairy-tale–like, ever-changing sculpture made of icicles and water—returns to Midway (located just 18 miles south of Park City) this winter.    

Ice Castles is the brainchild of Brent Christensen, an ice architect who began building small ice structures in his Alpine, Utah, yard in 2008. Christensen built his first large-scale Ice Castle just one year later at Midway’s Zermatt Resort. In the five years since, Christensen has built Ice Castles in Colorado, Minnesota, and New Hampshire, attracting more than half a million visitors.

Christensen’s design for this winter’s display in Midway is patterned after the slot canyons, arches, and caves found in Utah’s southern quadrants. Guests are invited not only to view the beauty of the structure but also to squeeze, squish, and crawl through parts of this stunning, Narnia-like display. Those entering the Ice Castles are surrounded by millions of icicles that sparkle a glacial blue by day and—with the help of thousands of multicolored LED lights embedded in the ice—glow at night. The best photo spots can be found in the throne room, in front of several waterfalls, and throughout the winding ice maze. Children will enjoy whizzing down tubular ice slides and spelunking through small tunnels.

“Ice Castles are among the most unique and beautiful places on earth,” Christensen says. “What’s really special is that every visitor gets a distinctive experience since the ice is constantly melting, freezing, and being reshaped. It’s an amazing, continuously evolving, and very interactive experience.” 

Frozen 411. Brent Christensen’s Ice Castles are located at Soldier Hollow Resort (2002 Soldier Hollow Rd, Midway). The display is open December 26 through March 2015, weather permitting. Hours are 3 to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; and noon to 10 p.m. on Saturdays (closed Sundays). General admission for ages 12 and up is $9.95, Monday through Thursday, and $12.95 Friday and Saturday. Tickets for kids ages 4 to 11 are $6.95 Monday through Thursday, and $8.95 Friday and Saturday. Tickets can be purchased on site or at

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