Depression-era New York, through the art of children
These ice castles are built from thousands of hand-placed icicles
MIDWAY, Utah — When Brent Christensen and his family moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Utah, he and his kids started playing with the ice formed from a leaking water source in his yard. Inspired by the possibilities, Brent wanted to take it further. What started as an ice fort grew into what is today, the “Ice Castles.”
For Brent, the most important part of the creative process is “allowing ourselves to be curious,” he told KUED’s “Verve,” “and not feeling like you have to be grown up all the time.”
The design and formation of the “Ice Castles” depend on the natural environment — water, temperature and time. “I consider what we do a dance with Mother Nature.” he said. “We can’t direct what the humidity is going to be, we don’t know exactly how the wind is going to blow. All of those things combined create a lot of surprises,” he added.
Built from the ground up, the “Ice Castles” are often started in October by a team of ice specialists and sculptors. With an estimated 25 million tons of ice, the castles are composed of slot canyons, frozen waterfalls, tunnels, archways, slides, caverns, thrones, fountains and more.
Today, there are six “Ice Castles” across the U.S. and Canada.
The team of designers and sculptors place lights into the ice for a colorful night show. “There’s engineering and architecture and a lot of art in it,” Brent said. “But the real art is what happens when we go home and go to bed and turn the water on, it happens at night.”
This report originally appeared on local station KUED’s “Verve.”
KUED is Utah's PBS station, airing PBS programming plus award-winning, locally produced documentaries and series. KUED’s weekly show, This Is Utah, celebrates the diverse people and communities that call Utah home.