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- [Marc] Castles are built to last, right?
One hundred years, 500 years, a thousand years.
So why build a castle that only exists for three months
and has to be rebuilt every single year when it melts?
Well, what if that was the point?
What if you were building it not for the finished product,
but just 'cause you like building stuff?
(chainsaw buzzing)
- We're just creating for fun,
creating something that's going to melt.
- [Marc] And because you want to make something
that looks like it belongs in a fairy tale.
- I'm Sleeping Beauty.
It's nice to meet you.
- I was just blown when I saw it.
- Blown away.
- [Marc] Even if it can't last forever.
But then, the best things in life never do.
(excavator rumbling)
So in what faraway land of ice and snow
might you find this unique castle?
Tell me at what state to be?
- America. - New Hampshire.
- [Marc] This is the aptly-named White Mountains
National Forest.
Now, there's no doubt that this is one of the most
beautiful parts of the country.
But people who don't like the cold tend to stay away
because temperatures here have been known
to fall as low as minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit
with wind chill.
Yes, minus 100 degrees.
- We have trees, and we have a lot of land,
and we have the Ice Castles.
(ethereal music)
- [Marc] For the last four winters
this hidden corner of New England has been home
to the Ice Castle, a gargantuan structure
made up of over 25 million pounds of ice.
Thousands of visitors come to explore the turrets,
tunnels, slides, and sculptures that seem
to have sprung out of the ground like magic.
- They have really fun slides with lights in them.
- I'm ready for anything!
- And a fire-breathing princess.
(screaming, exclaiming)
(whooshing)
- I was scared she was gonna blow up the whole thing down.
Then we call the fire department, and then something bad
would happen, and maybe she would get arrested.
- Arabelle and Lily are best friends,
or worst enemies, depending on the day.
Arabelle completely looks up to Liliana.
I think she wants to be like Lily one day.
- Come on!
Whoa!
Why do I keep on slipping?
(shrieking)
- [Marc] How did you feel when you first
saw the Ice Castle?
- I felt amazing.
- I felt like how did they build this?
It could be all magic.
- Um, they might have done magic, I don't know.
- [Marc] The Ice Castle is, in fact, built with magic,
but it's the kind of magic that results from a group
of craftspeople working in subfreezing temperatures
for a cumulative 8,000 hours.
(chainsaw buzzing)
- We actually harvest our own icicles here,
and then we take them and stick them
where we want the ice to grow.
And then we turn on the sprinkler system
and overnight it'll grow together,
and once it grows together it's strong enough
to get up on top, and we keep building from there.
- [Marc] And there's another group of people
who help shape the castle without even knowing it:
the visitors themselves.
- I like for people to touch it, and get in it,
and see them interacting with the ice.
They're essentially helping me carve
because the heat from people's mittens and bottoms
will continue to carve the castle and smooth it out.
I'm gonna try to knock off this part.
- Is it fun?
- [Woman] Yeah, it is fun.
- Is it like all year? - It's really fun.
No, no, we start building in December, usually,
when it gets cold enough.
I think you have to be 18, but you just apply online.
I really like telling children how it's made.
I'm like, this is the next generation of artists.
I like to work with happy accidents,
and ice is great because you don't
have a lot of control over it.
It's all up to the weather, and it changes all the time.
New Hampshire, it's a tough place to live
because you have to be able to handle the winters.
I think everyone's a little stir-crazy,
and you just don't know what to do
when you're trapped in your house all the time,
and especially if you have kids.
I feel like art could help to make connections
and work through things.
- How do you spell sadness?
- S-A-D-N.
- Art is a great way to work through problems,
and emotions, and putting emotions into something.
- Is that you?
- Mm hmm.
- I feel for my children because for most of their life
it was almost picture-perfect, and then it went from
perfect to crumbling really fast.
- Ow, wow.
- [Woman] Whoa, okay.
- Well, my mom and my dad got in a divorce.
Sometimes stuff is just for the best,
and sometimes that's just gonna happen.
(quiet music)
- Christmas wasn't like all the Christmases before.
So we went to the Ice Castles, and I think it was
just the pick-me-up we all kinda needed.
It was a day away from reality, and it was magical.
Maybe it's not a bad thing that they're experiencing
heartbreak so early on because they're learning
that there is life after heartbreak.
You can go through something and you can be
in a lot of pain, and you can get through it,
and you can come out stronger.
- If Arabelle's sad, I would give her a hug,
and say, just try to think of the good times you had,
or the good times that you will have.
- [Marc] All good things come to an end.
Maybe that's what helps us realize
that they are good things.
And besides, who knows?
Something even better might be around the corner.
- I'm happy to see it melt.
It needs to be renewed.
It needs to melt.
- [Marc] Sometimes, though, mother nature needs
a little bit of help.
(excavator beeping)
(ice crumbling)
The Ice Castle is so big, that even when temperatures
get above freezing it has to be knocked down
because it takes too long to melt.
- I definitely embrace change.
Dive into a season, and then as soon as you're sick
of that season, that season's gone,
and there's a new season.
When spring comes, I start to garden.
Soon as the drips of the Ice Castles start happening,
I was like, OK, let's have some springtime.
I want to see plants burst out of the ground,
and I want to tackle them.
(cheerful music)
- [Marc] Are you excited to go back next year?
- [Together] Yes.
- I'm so excited because maybe there will be
another fire-breathing princess, and the slides
hopefully will still be there.
And maybe there'll be a little change.
Mm hmm.
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An Ice Castle Brings Magic Before Melting Away

25 Folder Collection
Evangeline published on November 6, 2018
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