UPDATE: 12/30/14 — The Ice Castles are not returning to Breckenridge. Check out other spectacular winter events in Breckenridge (including the International Snow Sculpture Championships) or visit IceCastles.com for current castle info.

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The Ice Castles have arrived in Breckenridge and you may have already noticed the large structure taking shape near the Riverwalk Center. The team has spent over a month building what will soon be an amazing and unique attraction for everyone to enjoy.

Structure Formation

It may not be obvious but there is no underlying infrastructure which means there are no supporting beams walls, just ice and LED lights to help illuminate the structures at night. The Ice Castles are simply made entirely of ice forming on top of more ice. With irrigation pipes and sprinkler heads running throughout the castles, the team can spray water and form large walls when its cold enough. As the structure takes shape, they’re able to climb up and add more piping to help it grow.

Water pipes at Ice Castles.

Water pipes at Ice Castles.

It’s a bit counter-intuitive how the structures take shape as the team starts building from the center (where we walk) outwards (to the tall walls). Since some of the structure is more delicate and subject to breakage from impact, this allows for more solid ice to form near us and the more interesting stuff to be up above us at a safe distance.

Throughout the season, approximately 7 millions gallons of water will be used to build and maintain the ice castles.

Icicle Farming

Future site of overhead ice arches built by hand.

Future site of overhead ice arches built by hand.

In addition to the water spraying, the ice creators also set up an icicle farm with pipes and water dripping just a few yards beyond the structures themselves. The farm creates about 10,000 icicles per day and the finished products are hauled up to the castles to be attached throughout. The icicles are then attached, by hand, using a paste of snow and water. The more delicate and tricky sculptures, such as arches spanning overhead, are created using this process.

Ongoing Growth

The crew will keep working, full time, through the entire season. Just this week the team has started cutting out all the pathways and cleaning up the floor to make it safe and walkable for visitors. In the coming months plenty of growth and new features will take shape including a fire pit and a slide.

If You Go: Details

The Ice Castles are scheduled to open on December 26, 2013 and can be visited until 10 PM starting at 2 PM on weekdays and noon on the weekends.

Ticket prices vary for kids ($8 ages 4-11, free for ages 3 and under), adults ($10), military veterans ($8) and groups. Find the latest information at icecastles.com.

You can find the Ice Castles in Breckenridge at 150 West Adams Ave. just off of Main Street near the Riverwalk Center, Blue River Plaza, and next to The Barge. Close parking is available at Lot F off of of North Park Ave.

Learn the latest about ticket prices, hours of operation and directions to the Ice Castles at icecastles.com.

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