Artist Creates Amazing 25-Foot-Tall Ice Castles

Artist Creates Amazing 25-Foot-Tall Ice Castles
.

View photo

Roger Blakey Photography

Don't let your eyes deceive you. This isn't Narnia, although many first comers to these beautiful ice castles can't help but think of it.

Artist Brent Christensen, 50, of Alpine, Utah, has spent the last four years perfecting the craft of intertwining icicles into solid, 20 to 25-foot-tall structures he calls ice castles.

The hobby first started in 2000, when Christensen's family moved from sunny California to chilly Utah, and were looking for fun outdoor activities to do during the winter.

For more pictures of Christensen's ice castles, click here.

"We started doing winter stuff in the yard, playing around with the kids, making igloos and ice forts and slides and stuff," Christensen told ABCNews.com. "And it just evolved. One year I stumbled upon the concept of doing icicles by spraying water.

"We made one with a big wooden frame under it, and when it melted in the spring, it was a huge mess with a pile of soaking wood. The following year I didn't want to use any wood so it would just cleanly melt away. During the course of that winter, I stumbled upon the concept of fusing icicles to make a lattice to spray water on and build upon."

View photo

.

Courtesy Brent Christensen

Once he got really good at building the ice fortresses, he approached several nearby resorts to see if they'd be interested in having him build displays for their guests. There weren't any takers at first and Christensen began to give up on the idea. Then, several weeks later, he heard from the manager of a small local spa and resort.

"The manager was like, 'Yeah, sure, let's do it next year. That was the opening door that got us into the public level," said Christensen.

Since then, Christensen has become famous for his magnificent structures. He currently has two ice castles on display this year, one in Steamboat Springs, Colo., as well as a larger, more grandiose one he created in the parking lot of Mall of America near Minneapolis-St. Paul.

"People come and they pay an admission and spend about a half an hour usually taking pictures and exploring," he said. "The ice castle itself is probably about an acre and a half."

Christensen, along with his team of about 20 men, worked around the clock for two weeks prepping the Mall of America ice castle, which opened on New Year's Eve, making it perfect to open for the public.

"We're pushing 20 to 25 feet tall in some spots," he said. "The goal is to eventually to go 40 to 50 feet. We get to a point where it's something the public's going to enjoy, then we continue growing it."

It's an evolving process all throughout the winter months, with Christensen constantly adding, re-shaping, and building bigger and better icicles to complete the castle.

"Most people have never experienced anything like it because it's so different. For me and my guys now, even for us who've done it for a couple years now, after the water's been running at night, it's still fascinating."

There is no set "closing date" for the ice castles. Christensen said he just keeps his eye on the extended weather forecast, and when temperatures stay in the high 30s toward the end of February, he'll begin to dismantle the pieces of ice, move them into safe piles at one end of the parking lot, and let nature take its course, melting his ice kingdom away.

View Comments (326)

Recommended for You

  • US Women's Soccer Team Beats Germany to Advance to World Cup Final

    The U.S. Women's National team defeated Germany Tuesday night to advance to the final of the Women's World Cup. The Women's National Team took the lead in the 69th minute with a goal from Carli Lloyd after Germany racked up a yellow card. Annike Krahn took down Alex Morgan inside the box two…

    Good Morning America
  • NY Prison Escape: The Details David Sweat Told Investigators

    Escaped prisoner David Sweat, now in an upstate New York hospital, has allegedly revealed to investigators how he and fellow escapee Richard Matt managed to elude authorities in their three weeks on the run. Sweat told authorities he and Matt listened to reports about the manhunt on a radio, a…

    Good Morning America
  • Misty Copeland Is American Ballet Theatre's First Black Female Principal Dancer

    A fervent dream became reality today for ballerina Misty Copeland as she became the first black female principal dancer in the 75-year history of the American Ballet Theatre. "I'm just so honored, so extremely honored," Copeland said today during a news conference. "My dream has been ABT…

    Good Morning America
  • David Sweat Claims He Practiced Escape and Was Almost Caught Twice During 3-Week Manhunt

    Escaped prisoner David Sweat told investigators he was almost discovered twice during the three weeks authorities were searching the woods of upstate New York for him and fellow inmate Richard Matt — including one time that police walked right by him as he hid in a hunting tree stand, officials…

    Good Morning America
  • 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup: Complete Results

    5 Storylines to Follow Ahead of US-Germany Semifinal5 Biggest Moments in US Soccer Team HistoryESPN: Complete Coverage of Canada 2015Group A:June 6Canada 1, China 0Netherlands 1, New Zealand 0June 11China 1, Netherlands 0Canada 0, New Zealand 0June 15Netherlands 1, Canada 1China 2, New Zealand…

    Good Morning America
  • Watermelon Thump Festival a Texas Tradition for 62 Years and Counting

    Most days of the year, Luling, Texas is a sleepy town of around 5,500 people. Come late June, though, that number swells to 35,000, and it’s all because of watermelon. Since 1954, Luling has been host to the Watermelon Thump, a four-day festival celebrating all things watermelon.

    Good Morning America
  • Donna Karan Steps Down as Chief Designer for DKNY

    Fashion designer Donna Karan has made a personal decision to step down as chief designer for Donna Karan New York (DKNY), the New York-based international fashion house announced today. Karan, who spent the last three decades revolutionizing "the working woman's wardrobe" for DKNY, will now be…

    Good Morning America
  • Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner to Divorce

    Garner, 43, and Affleck, 42, married in 2005 and have three children, Violet, 9, Seraphina, 6, and Samuel, 3. Years later, Affleck admitted that he fell in love with Garner on the set of the film. They got engaged in April 2005 and married two months later in a private ceremony in the Turks and…

    Good Morning America
  • Amnesiac Woman Tries to Solve Mystery of Who She Is as She Battles Cancer

    Called "Sam," the woman was found in Southern California by firefighters in February and immediately taken to a local hospital, where she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, according to a Facebook page created to help her find her family. Doctors told her a volleyball-sized ovarian tumor may have…

    Good Morning America
  • Watch Alex Trebek Rap the 'Fresh Prince' Theme Song

    Will Smith would be proud. During a question about TV theme songs, Jeopardy host Alex Trebek took to rapping the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" jingle.Trebek got really into the jam and even altered his voice to sound more hip-hop. Calling this epic would be the understatement of the century.Read:…

    Good Morning America
  • Taylor Swift Gives Fans Free Tickets After Flight Delay Makes Them Miss London Show

    When two South African Swifties missed her concert at London’s Hyde Park after their flight was delayed, the "Style" singer offered them free tickets to her Dublin show. Stephanie Be and her boyfriend Joe Crann only managed to catch the last three songs of Saturday's show thanks to the travel…

    Good Morning America
  • 'Ghostbusters' Director Paul Feig Tweets First Pictures From Set

    And we have our first look at the new costumes for the "Ghostbusters" reboot, starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon.Director Paul Feig tweeted out two pictures, one of the uniforms and the other of the beloved proton packs.Slideshow: Other Stars On SetRelated:…

    Good Morning America
  • Texas Man Builds Miniature House in Hopes of Avoiding College Debt

    Joel Weber said he's determined to incur less college debt by living in the tiny, 145-square-foot house he built, rather than struggling to pay higher rent in his college town of Austin, Texas. Weber, who will begin his junior year at the University of Texas at Austin, said it can cost upwards of…

    Good Morning America
  • Girl Scouts Return $100K After Donor Requests It Not Be Used to Support Transgender Girls

    The Girl Scouts of Western Washington recently returned $100,000 to a donor who sent a follow-up note to the donation requesting that the gift "not be used to support transgender girls," the group said. Despite the loss, the Girl Scouts have now raised the amount back, and some more, in less than…

    Good Morning America
  • Princess Charlotte's Christening: Mario Testino Picked as Photographer

    The Duchess of Cambridge famously snapped the first photos released of her son and newborn daughter together, but the royal family has tapped a world-renowned photographer to record their next milestone. Mario Testino, who has photographed generations of Britain’s royal family, will take the…

    Good Morning America
  • Leap Second: How Companies Are Preparing For Extra Second Today

    If today feels a bit longer, there's a reason for it.A leap second will be added to the clock to account for a discrepancy between Earth's rotation and the atomic clock.While there have been more than two dozen instances of a leap second being added since 1972, companies relying on their computer…

    Good Morning America
  • Arizona 10-Year-Old, Formerly Homeless, to Make Clothes for Kids Less Fortunate

    Stephanie Elliot said she was completely taken by surprise when her son, Xavier Elliot, told her that he wanted to make clothes for homeless children, after learning what it was like to be homeless himself. "I think it affected him a lot," Elliot of Pheonix, Arizona told ABC News.

    Good Morning America