Thursday, October 21, 2010

Anatomy of an Ice Hotel

In Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, just 200 km inside the Arctic Circle, lies an architectural feat made of frozen water. Every year the hotel is rebuilt for obvious reasons, and guestrooms come at a hefty price tag, for obvious reasons. What started as an igloo has evolved into a luxury walk-in freezer. Allow us to walk you through the anatomy of Sweden’s Icehotel:

The Icehotel constructed last year is still open for business—the spring thaw comes late 125 miles north of the arctic circle—but this is the time to gather raw material for next year’s structure. Workers use hydraulic saws to slice the surface of the nearby Torne river into 3-foot-thick blocks, which are extracted with earthmoving equipment.

By now, workers have harvested 3,000 blocks of ice, each weighing 2.2 tons. They are transported to a warehouse and stored at 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

As the ice blocks chillax in storage, last year’s hotel gradually melts back into the river.

Brr! Time to start rebuilding. Large steel moldings are positioned where the finished edifice will stand, and snow machines produce tons and tons of “snice”—a mixture of snow and ice. Giant snow blowers inhale the slushy stuff and blast it onto the metal frames. After two days, the snice has frozen solid and the frames can be removed. The giant hunks of ice are removed from storage and stacked on top of one another. Then they get doused with water. The liquid freezes quickly, cementing the blocks into support columns.

Leftover ice is used to make windowpanes and beds (covered in reindeer fur for comfort). Icehotel’s first guests of the season check in. They enjoy welcoming drinks of Absolut vodka—served, of course, in tumblers made of ice. Just don’t forget your mittens!

Information courtesy of Wired Magazine.

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1 comment:

  1. Well, nice to know that there is a hotel that really looks like a true igloo. I think this will be a sure hit this month.


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