New Lake George ‘Ice Castles’ attraction gets warm welcome

LAKE GEORGE — Snow was lightly falling from the dimly lit sky as ticket holders lined up in boots and snow pants, some with sleds in tow, to enter the highly anticipated new winter attraction at the Charles R. Wood Park in the village of Lake George.

Ice Castles’ grand opening on Sunday attracted tourists and locals hoping to experience the icy sculptures, tunnels and caves that took over a month to construct.

Jared Henningsen, vice president of events for Ice Castles, who was on site to greet guests and media, including a photographer from The New York Times, shared why he got involved with the company.

“I’m originally from Australia, but I’ve been here for about 10 years. This is my fourth season with the company. I was actually a music festival producer, but I was on a road trip one time and I drove past one of the Ice Castles locations,” Henningsen said.

He knew he wanted to be a part of the company at that moment.

“I produced hundreds of events and this was just something completely different. It took my breath away,” he said.

He explained the intricate process while gesturing to the massive walls looming beside him, made completely of icicles that were constructed by a team of artisans.

“These icicles were all made by hand and then planted and sprayed with our sprinkler system. Once they become large enough, we move onto the next level of growth and we have four levels here now,” Henningsen said.

The levels consist of spiky icicles, all hand-planted and placed, measuring over 2 feet in height, that took weeks of construction to form the walls of the castle.

While the construction of the castle was complete for the opening, Henningsen said the crew will continuously spray the existing ice with water over the duration of the season to create higher and thicker structures.

“The crew will continue to build the structure throughout the season; it just gets bigger and better,” he said.

Inside the elaborate ice fortress, signs indicated areas currently closed to the public, areas that had not yet been completed by the builders, such as a slide that will allow guests to climb to the top of the castle walls before zooming down the slick slope.

Despite the extensive setup, Henningsen said the Ice Castles attraction will only be open for the next four to five weeks.

Tickets became available online Wednesday and sales have broken records so far, Henningsen said.

“We have sold a record-number of tickets so far, so I strongly suggest if people want to come, book in advance at icecastles.com. People have traveled a long way to see this today,” Henningsen said.

He also praised Warren County for its support and said the village of Lake George, especially Mayor Bob Blais, has been “fantastic to work with.”

According to Henningsen, 90% of the workforce hired to construct the castle consists of local residents from the Lake George and Warren County area.

While the site was largely put together by locals, visitors from surrounding states eagerly explored the winter fantasyland.

Rick Brattole and Darlene VanGlahn drove up from Clark, New Jersey, as they have annually for over 30 years. The pair said they have visited the village during all the seasons, but the new attraction gave them an exciting reason for this trip.

“We come every winter for the ice bars and the Winter Carnival, but this year we came for the Ice Castles, of course,” Brattole said.

The Evans family came from their house in Latham after a neighbor gave them tickets as a Christmas gift. The couple was excited to bring their daughters out in the snow after not having much this year. They said this was a treat after activities were being limited due to COVID.

Magda and Rafael, a couple originally from Poland, came to the village on a day-trip from Connecticut to experience the Ice Castles.

“This was our first time ever coming to Lake George. Now we are planning to visit this summer,” she said.

Long Island residents Kristy Brandt and Barbara Sandorf said they have visited Lake George many times, but this gave them a new reason to come.

Couples, kids and families all gathered in front of the largest light display, a massive wall of ice with caverns built in flashing to the beat of the music, for a photo-op before exiting.

As night set in over the lake, the castle lights began to dance and glow beneath the layers of ice while the line of guests continued to form outside the ticket booth.


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