I was in serious need of some time out of the house after spending the previous two days locked up with a cold. The cabin fever was setting in, which is sad after such a beautiful Saturday; sunny with temps in the 50s and no snow on the ground. So, after hearing so many people talk it up, I decided to make the drive to check out the Silverthorne Ice Castle.
Ice castles and palaces are no new thing for me. I remembering going to the St. Paul Winter Carinval a couple of times in my youth to see the ice palace. It was amazing to behold and no small feat to make; large chunks of ice were cut from a nearby lake and meticulously assembled over a long period of time. The Silverthorne Ice Castle in Colorado was something completely different, though.
I had expected the Silverthorne Ice Castle to be something like the palace for the St. Paul Winter Carnival, but instead it was more out of the Chronicles of Narnia. The icicle spikes carefully placed around the tops and sides of the frozen mid-flow ice reminded me of the palace the White Witch inhabited in the first Narnia movie; it was a wonderfully demented fortress while remaining artistically quite impressive.
The ice castle is also ever-changing. Each day new icicles are added – over 70,000 to date – water flows and freezes, and falling snow can continually change the complexion of the castle. So while it may look one way on the first visit, it will likely look completely different on a follow up.
I wandered the small lot the Silverthorne Ice Castle inhabits just north of Interstate 70 on Colorado Highway 9. It was late morning and only a handful of people were there. I loved this, since I had the castle almost to myself. Only when I was leaving did carloads of skiers heading back to Denver empty out and take over the place.
Their enthusiasm for the Silverthorne Ice Castle was written on their faces. And had I not grown up with something similar in Minnesota, I likely would have tipped over and slid back into the parking lot after stepping foot inside the Large Tower – a grouping of eight smaller towers that have run together creating arched pathways and beautiful iceberg-blue colors inside.
The Silverthorne Ice Castle is a really impressive complex of structures and something I’ll look forward to seeing on an annual basis in Colorado. It was in Utah last year, but moved here in search of colder temperatures to keep the castle frozen longer. They certainly found it, too, and can likely look to staying frozen well into March or maybe even April.