It’s set to snow more this winter than in recent years, but one group is close to bringing even more snow and ice to Breckenridge.
At the Oct. 8 Breckenridge Town Council meeting, town manager Tim Gagen reported that the Ice Castles had met all of the town’s requirements in order to set up the attraction this winter.
The Ice Castles consist of giant columns of snow and ice that grow and evolve during winter — visitors walk through tunnels and past towering, brightly lit icicles.
The first castle was built in 2009 at the Zermatt Resort in Utah, followed the next winter by a castle in Midway, Utah. Over the 2011-12 season, the Ice Castles came to Silverthorne. The castles were supposed to set up in Breckenridge last winter, but were moved instead to the Mall of America in Minnesota. A castle also took shape in 2012 in Steamboat Springs.
Ryan Davis, Ice Castles co-owner, said he has applied for an event permit and is just waiting for a final contract from the town.
“We’re really close,” he said. “We just ran out of time last year. This site was a little more complicated, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Last year, the Ice Castles decided to hold off for a year due to questions about whether its system would be effective on asphalt. Approximately 20 million pounds of ice would affect the asphalt in the Tiger/Dredge parking lot in downtown Breckenridge, a prime climate for an attraction like this.
“We’re a group of guys who go around freezing ice, and Breck is cold,” Davis said.
Councilmembers asked whether the Ice Castles had addressed the construction problem. Last year’s Ice Castle at the Mall of America served as the test run for asphalt.
“They think they have, but they also have put up full money to protect if they don’t, along with paying for the water,” Gagen said.
Town spokeswoman Kim Dykstra-Dilallo said the update was to inform the council that most of the bigger items have been agreed upon.
“We’re like 95 percent there,” she said.
Smaller details, such as where propane tanks and lighting will be placed, are still being worked out, she said.
“There are a lot of things about Breck that’s great,” Davis said. “It has one of the most active nightlife (communities), and that’s great because we’re primarily an evening event.”
If they finalize the contract agreement, the Ice Castles would remain in Breck for the 2013-14 winter season until temperatures warmed up enough to melt the attraction. There were more than 100,000 visitors between the two 2012 locations, which hosted proposals, weddings, school field trips and more.
“They can expect to be gearing up within the next couple of weeks,” Gegan said. “They’re hoping for cold weather so they can start dripping.”