Dillon Ice Castles sets opening date | SummitDaily.com

Dillon Ice Castles sets opening date

Workers build the ice castles in Dillon on Nov. 29, 2019.
Photo by Liz Copan / Studio Copan

DILLON — The town’s biggest winter attraction has set a tentative opening date, according to officials.

The Dillon Ice Castles are scheduled to open at Town Park on Dec. 26 — barring any major weather delays.

“We’re really excited to be back in Dillon and part of the community this year,” said Anna Closser, the site manager in charge of bringing the phenomenon to life.

As they make their way through the castles’ illuminated tunnels, Closser said visitors should expect a wide range of new and familiar frozen spectacles, including a fountain, slides and ice-sculptures scattered throughout different rooms. She said her team is also working on a couple of domed rooms — one with lights dancing along the ceiling, another with icicles hanging overhead — and a VIP room guests could reserve for special occasions like proposals.

Things will look a little different this year, however, as Ice Castles adjusts to create a safer environment during the pandemic. Performances like fire-twirling that tend to form groups of spectators have been pushed aside this season, and the movement of visitors through the castles has been streamlined to promote physical distancing.

“All of our tunnels will be one way and everything has a natural flow to keep you going in that direction, rather than a choose-your-own-adventure kind of thing,” Closser said.

The ice castles will be using the same reservation system to book tickets, which will require visitors to show up at a set time, allowing the organization to keep a cap on capacity.

Despite a warmer week, Closser said her team of builders is on schedule with the castles currently standing about 6 feet tall.

“This week has definitely been a struggle,” Closser said about the weather. “We got our water turned on about a week and a half ago, and unfortunately, right now, we’re sort of at a standstill with this warm weather. But we’re looking really good for the next couple weeks. The weather seems to be turning more in our favor.”

While Ice Castles continues to discuss a potential long-term agreement with the town, Dillon officials are working to address residents’ concerns. Kerstin Anderson, Dillon’s marketing and communications director, said the town is in the process of finalizing a new parking plan to drive visitors to the correct lots, along with pushing out more detailed parking information to guests when they book their tickets.

“We had a meeting last January, and we took that community feedback to heart,” Anderson said. “In terms of parking, I feel really good about the plan that we have. We’re creating better signage to direct people down Lake Dillon Drive and into the core area where we have an abundance of parking.”

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