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Frigid Edmonton weather proves beneficial for Ice Castle sculptors: ‘We need the cold to make ice’

Click to play video: 'Edmonton Ice Castle sculptors take advantage of cold temperatures' Edmonton Ice Castle sculptors take advantage of cold temperatures
READ MORE: Here's a look at the construction of the Ice Castle in Hawrelak Park on Tuesday afternoon. After a slow start, construction is coming along nicely now because of the frigid temperatures – Dec 6, 2016

After a bit of a slow start because of warm temperatures last month, construction on the Ice Castle in Hawrelak Park is coming along nicely now that the temperatures have plummeted.

“We need the cold to make ice,” Cory Livingood, with Ice Castles, said.

“The temperature was a little bit warmer so the ice was still forming but it wasn’t forming as solidly right off the bat. Now that we have the cold temperatures we are growing a little faster.”

While the ideal conditions to sculpt the castle are between the -10°C and -15°C range, Livingood said the colder temperatures are good in a lot of ways.

“We’re not as worried about a warm stretch but every year has new challenges and complications and that’s what makes this job so much fun,” he said.

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READ MORE: 13 things to do in Edmonton in winter 2016/17

One of those challenges is trying to make sure the roughly nine kilometres of sprinkler systems don’t freeze up on them.

“It’s really hard not to freeze those so it’s constantly trying to freeze stuff and not freeze stuff at the same time. When it’s this cold that can be difficult.”

Crafted by hand using only icicles and water, the ice castle will have tunnels, a waterfall and a throne room. The castle will also house a tubular ice slide and a winding ice maze.

With the castle being such a big hit with Edmontonians last year, Livingood hopes to make this year’s castle even larger.

“We’re doing some experiments to try and make it bigger,” he said. “Things are going really well. It’s awesome to be back and it’s going to be a good year.”

READ MORE: Massive Hawrelak Park ice castle returning for a second year

Crews hope to open the castle sometime between Christmas and the New Year but Livingood admits Mother Nature calls the shots.

“It depends a lot on the weather, it depends a lot of the building crew, it depends a lot on problems and stuff that naturally arise and how quickly we can deal with them,” Livingood explained. “At the moment we’re doing pretty well. We’re making a lot of new improvements every single day to limit the number of problems that we have.”

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Tickets go on sale later this month and range in price – depending on the day and time you visit – from $9.95 – $12.95 for children and $12.95 – $16.95 for adults.

Livingood recommends buying tickets online ahead of time because the attraction gets busy.

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