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Ice Castles returns to Edmonton on Friday for attraction’s 5th year

Click to play video: 'Warm weather in Edmonton led to some delays in building Ice Castles' Warm weather in Edmonton led to some delays in building Ice Castles
WATCH: The Edmonton Ice Castles are set to open on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. But as Lisa MacGregor reports, the crews building the massive ice structures have been at the mercy of warm weather as they work to finish – Dec 31, 2019

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.”

Crews working to construct the Ice Castles on Dec. 31, 2019. Wes Rosa / Global News

The crews had started initially on Nov. 13, but then warm temperatures melted the beginnings.

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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.

READ MORE: Ice castle to return to Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park this winter

“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.

Click to play video: 'Ice Castles open in Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park' Ice Castles open in Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park
Ice Castles open in Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park – Jan 3, 2020
“They [the ice structures] start off hollow and then we build in floors, and then they become solid ice.
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“As long as we don’t get double digit temperatures for extended periods of time [once it’s solid], it creates its own environment,” said Velthuis.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s Silver Skate Festival launches crowdfunding campaign to expand 2020 program

The display includes frozen tunnels, foundations, slides, thrones, and towers of ice embedded with LED lights.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton’s Ice Castles lead artist explains how it will keep growing' Edmonton’s Ice Castles lead artist explains how it will keep growing
Edmonton’s Ice Castles lead artist explains how it will keep growing – Jan 11, 2019

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.

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The Ice Castles run until spring, when weather becomes too warm for crews to maintain the structures.

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