Ice Castles in talks to build attraction outside Silverthorne

A visitor inspects the walls during the opening night of the Dillon Ice Castles on Dec. 19, 2020. The Ice Castles won’t return to Dillon this winter, but they could end up in Silverthorne.
Liz Copan/For the Summit Daily News

There won’t be any ice castles in Dillon this winter, but the attraction still might find its way back to Summit County.

Dillon announced earlier this year that the ice castles typically constructed on top of Town Park wouldn’t return for the upcoming winter, primarily as a result of major capital improvements at the park, which include a new multiuse field where the castles have been erected the past three years.

“At the time, what was going on was there was work being done on elements of the Town Park Master Plan, and the investment to the Town Park versus the investment that would be needed from Ice Castles for their infrastructure, the waters were just becoming a little murky there based on timing and the different needs of the project,” Dillon’s Marketing and Communications Director Kerstin Anderson said.

Anderson noted that the town has not returned to conversations with Ice Castles, the company that constructs the frozen attractions, to discuss the possibility of bringing the castles back to town in future years.

Ice Castles spokesperson Melissa Smuzynski said the company is hoping to have a Colorado location this year to match its other installations in Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Utah and Wisconsin. And it looks like Summit County might still be an option.

Silverthorne Town Manager Ryan Hyland said Wednesday, Sept. 1, that Silverthorne officials have been in talks with Ice Castles to bring the attraction to a parking lot near the Dillon Reservoir dam, just outside of town limits. There are a lot of players taking part in those conversations. Hyland said the lot is in unincorporated Summit County, owned by Denver Water, leased by Silverthorne and subleased to the Outlets at Silverthorne, an agreement he said has been in place since the 1980s.

There isn’t yet any formal agreement between Silverthorne, Ice Castles or the other stakeholders on the project, but with winter approaching, Hyland said a final decision would likely be made by the end of September.

“There are obviously lots of details we have to get into if we can come to an agreement on some of the bigger picture things,” Hyland said. “… But I think for Silverthorne, it’s an exciting conversation, where it’s something that was fun for our community a number of years ago when we had it here. It’s something we feel could be a benefit for the community.”

As Hyland notes, it wouldn’t be the first time Ice Castles set up camp in the Silverthorne area. The company constructed its first Summit County ice castles on a lawn outside of the Silverthorne Pavilion in 2011, where the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center now stands.

As officials look toward the attraction’s potential return, Hyland said many of the conversations taking place surround how to ensure it represents a win-win situation for both the community and Ice Castles.

“It’s obviously a great draw for visitors to our area, and a lot of folks come specifically to see that,” Hyland said. “But we want to make sure there’s a community benefit and a community feel to the event. … So we’re looking at how we can integrate local artists into the mix, make sure there’s a benefit to local nonprofits and just our residents, making sure they can access that for a discounted rate. …

“I know the outlets are excited. It could drive a lot of folks to that particular village. And certainly our partners with local restaurants here, we would want to make sure to maximize the value of all those visitors here and have them dining and shopping in Silverthorne beyond just the outlets.”

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