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Ice Castles at Loon Mountain

Structures like this Ice Castle entryway are being shaped at Loon Mountain.JEN CHERRY MILLARD/Jen Cherry Millard

LINCOLN, N.H. — Even if you don't ski, there is a new reason to head to Loon Mountain this winter. Ice Castle construction is under way, and just after Christmas (if the weather cooperates), creator Brent Christensen and a team of artists will finish transforming more than 12,000 tons of ice into an acre-size castle at Loon Mountain, his Ice Castles debut on the East Coast.

Using a large sprinkler system in subfreezing temperatures, the crew will "grow" giant icicles, which they will harvest and sculpt to form a Narnia-like palace. They'll add to the structure each night, eventually creating a free-form fortress of frozen stalagmites and stalactites. Multiple large towers and ice walls are expected to reach upward of 40 feet. In daytime, the castles glimmer in the winter sun; come nightfall, thousands of LED lights embedded in the ice create an ethereal aura.


Visitors can expect to wander through a frozen kingdom of snowy pathways carved through solid ice walls, archways, towers and tunnels, peering into vertical tunnels similar to those carved by running water in glaciers. Adventurous souls can squeeze, spelunk, and crawl through narrow slot canyons and cave-like caverns, or ride a zipline over the castles.

LOON MOUNTAIN  60 Loon Mountain Road, Lincoln, N.H. 603-745-8111. Projected opening from late December through mid-March, Mon-Fri 2-10 p.m., Sat-Sun noon-10. Age 4 and up $9.95 weekends, $7.95 weekdays, under 4 free, senior, military and group rates available. www.icecastles.com. For updates on the construction of the Loon Mountain Ice Castle visit www.loonmtn.com.