Artisans work overtime to open Dillon Ice Castles on Saturday

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DILLON, Colo. — A popular winter attraction is set to open in the mountains this weekend. Ice artisans are busy putting the finishing touches on the Ice Castles in Dillon.

Last year, the icy maze of tunnels and slides opened before Christmas. Colorado’s warmer December pushed the opening back for 2019. The extensive structure is located on an acre of land in Dillon.

“You start getting the glacial blues during the day,” said build manager Keith Heintzelman describing the beauty of the ice.

The attraction is being constructed through the delicate art of ice making. Workers are putting finishing touches on attractions and leveling out the frozen pathway floors. A group of 25 ice artisans have been putting in long hours over the past four weeks.

“We are in crunch mode,” Heintzelman said. “With Christmas, we had a short day today— a short 8-hour day.”

The process starts with using machines to produce and harvest icicles at a rate of 5,000 to 10,000 icicles a day. Water is used with special maneuvering to create towering works of art.

In the Instagram culture, ice castles are gaining in popularity.

“It’s all about the pictures,” Heintzelman said. “We build in specific spots for pictures.”

Those pictures are “insta-worthy” with the lights used to make the ice glow in the dark of night.

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