An Edmonton attraction that’s becoming a winter tradition at Hawrelak Park is set to open on Friday, Jan. 3.
The Ice Castles will be returning to Alberta’s capital for its fifth winter, as the only Canadian location this year.
Tickets will be available on the company’s website, starting on New Year’s Day.
A news release from the Ice Castles organization said Tuesday that “despite warmer temperatures, ice artisans in Edmonton are working around the clock to get the attraction ready for Friday’s grand opening.”
The crews had started initially on Nov. 13, but then warm temperatures melted the beginnings.
So another attempt began on Nov. 25, said Ritchie Velthuis, the build manager for Ice Castles Edmonton — and it’s been all hands on deck since then.
“The whole castle is about an acre, and there’s probably 30,000 feet of hose that gets all the sprinklers where they need to be,” Velthuis said.
“There’s between 25 and 30 full-time people, and then we enlist the help of casual [workers].”
The crews need temperatures of at at least -8 Celsius to get a solid growth going on the ice. At ideal temperatures, it grows about three feet a day.
Valethuis said that it’s only initially that the lower temperatures are needed for extended times.
The display includes frozen tunnels, foundations, slides, thrones, and towers of ice embedded with LED lights.
The Ice Castles has partnered with Edmonton’s Silver Skate Festival, the city’s longest-running winter festival, which also takes place in the park.
The Ice Castles run until spring, when weather becomes too warm for crews to maintain the structures.