At the base of Loon Mountain in Lincoln, N.H., an ice castle not unlike the frosty palace in the Disney movie "Frozen" is rising from the ground, one icicle at a time. It's one of three ice castles being built by the same company — the others are in Breckinridge, Colo., and Midway, Utah — this winter.
Brent Christensen, who now lives in Hawaii, started his Ice Castles company a few years ago after spending several winters building elaborate slides and ice towers for his kids in his backyard in Utah. "During that process, I almost accidentally started thinking about icicles," he said. "At first it was just for cosmetics. I thought, 'This will look really cool.' And then, with time, I stumbled on the idea of crisscrossing the icicles, and that's when I found ... you can actually grow them in certain ways."
Eventually, he approached ski areas about building larger structures that could serve as temporary art installations and tourist attractions, and the idea took off.
There are 58 towers on the Lincoln castle, plus a waterfall and an enclosed slide. At night, the castles are lit by color-changing LED lights embedded in the ice. Sara Bookin-Weiner of Somerville, Mass., said she appreciates the beauty of the ice at a time of year when "things are so dead and dark."
"Especially now that the holidays are over, in the Northeast we're looking forward to lots of months of blah, and it's really wonderful to have something so creative and artistic and delightful," she said.