During the dark and snowy New England winter months, it can be tough to adventure outside into the cold. Unless you’re a skier or snowboarder, you might think winter is best spent reading a book next to the fireplace until the mercury starts to rise again in the spring. But, the famous Ice Castles in New Hampshire will make you put on all the layers and head to the mountains.
Ice Castles became famous in 2011 when founder, Brent Christensen, crafted his first icy masterpiece in his front yard at his home in Utah. Not only was the ice castle a hit with Christensen’s six kids, but also the whole neighborhood who came to play in the ice. Since 2011, Ice Castles has grown to six locations across North America where kids and adults of all ages can enjoy the pure joy and happiness of the Ice Castles experience.
Celebrating its eleventh season in New Hampshire, New Hampshire’s Ice Castles is one of the first ice castles in the country. In recent years, the Ice Castles New Hampshire moved from its long-time location at the Hobo Railroad to its new location in North Woodstock on Clark Farm Road. The new location has allowed the crew to create a larger, more interactive experience for all its guests, as well as the opportunity to add fun, new winter elements in the future years.
Every year, Ice Castles look a little different, and that’s all due to its lead designer – Mother Nature. Each ice castle weighs about 25 million pounds and takes a team of 20 to 40 artisans to create over the course of many weeks. Every night, the artisans harvest 5,000 to 12,000 icicles, which are then individually sculpted into existing ice formations. The newly placed icicles are then drenched in water to solidify. Each ice castle is about one acre in size and is lit with colorful LED lights for a magical experience.
Along with experiencing the wonders of Ice Castles, the New Hampshire location also offers sleigh rides and a winter walk through an enchanted forest lined with elaborate ice sculptures. Sleigh rides are available for an additional charge and may be purchased when you reserve your tickets online.
While it’s always hard to predict the opening date of Ice Castles due to Mother Nature, Ice Castles will likely be open after the Christmas holiday. Construction of Ice Castles will start as soon as the daytime temperatures begin to drop below freezing, and it takes about two months to build.
Parking is free at the new location, but on the weekends and holidays, parking may be limited due to the number of people trying to visit. Only a limited number of tickets are sold daily, so it’s best to purchase tickets ahead of time online. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit icecastles.com/new-hampshire.
The White Mountains are home to a wide array of lodging options, dining options and fun winter activities like snowtubing, ice skating, skiing, snowshoeing and more. Make a trip out of it! Just make sure to plan ahead. The best time to visit is mid-week when there are less crowds and better lodging rates. The keys to having a great experience (regardless of whether it’s taking place during a pandemic or not), are to find out what you need to know before you go, be respectful of local communities, businesses, and environments, and be prepared to follow guidance that is designed to keep you and the local residents safe. Planning ahead and pre-booking your accommodations, activities, and restaurant reservations are even more important now while many businesses’ capacity is limited due to the pandemic.