Photo by Roger Blakey
Mall of America's Ice Castle
You may have already seen it. In the Mall of America’s north parking lot, a company from Utah has constructed an enormous ice castle—an acre of frozen walls, 50-foot icicle towers, cavernous ice rooms, tunnels, and other structures made entirely of water.
Brent Christensen and Ryan Davis, of Ice Castles LLC, have built smaller ice castles out west, but now that they’re up against the Twin Cities’ talented snow sculptors and long tradition of ice-based architecture, they’ve upped their game. This is their biggest castle yet.
“We have high expectations to live up to,” Christensen admits.
Christensen and his team built the ice castle from the ground up, without any supportive substructure. Initially, adjustable sprinklers sprayed water, which froze into thick columns. Then his team spent more than a month working from 7 am to midnight fusing 5,000 icicles a day into lattices. This frozen framework eventually connected hefty columns of ice, resulting in a series of tunnels weaving through the heart of the castle.
The team spent more than a month working from 7 am to midnight fusing 5,000 icicles a day into lattices.
An archway made of icicles greets people. As they look up, hundreds of dagger-like “stalactites” hang overhead. Inside is a wide courtyard, which leads to the real enchantment of the castle: the turquoise and green ice tunnels. The castle is especially enchanting at night, when thousands of LED lights illuminate the towers and tunnels, transforming them into ethereal, Dr. Seussian ice formations.
Says Christensen: “It’s like going into some of the coolest ice caves you would find in Antarctica, but you get to do it with your kids.” Through Feb. 20. Mall of America, 952-883-8800, mallofamerica.com