Midnight Sun to Keep IceHotel Open Year Round
A new version of the iconic IceHotel will use solar-powered refrigeration to keep frozen walls from melting.
Normally, the hotel is constructed in winter out of ice cut from a the Torne River and then left to melt as the temperatures outside turn to spring.
The new hotel will built from river ice just like its sister, but will use solar-powered refrigeration to keep the frozen walls from melting.
"...we'll be able to produce roughly 75 kilowatts from April to September, which gives us an energy surplus that we can use to run our existing buildings, like our restaurants, offices and warm rooms," said founder Yngve Bergqvist in a press release.
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Nine luxury suites, each with a sauna and bathroom, will accommodate guests brave enough to strip naked in freezing temperatures. An ice bar will serve chilled champagne and an ice gallery will present works of art.
Guests will be able to take year-round advantage of local activities, including dogsledding, watching the northern lights or taking a boat trip on the river -- all beneath the light of the midnight sun.
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival 2016 Debuts: Photos
If it's winter, it must be time for the latest Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, an annual showcase of wintry sculptures in Harbin City, in China's Heilongjiang province. Here tourists take a selfie in front of giant ice sculptures during the festival's opening night on January 5.
This year's festival is themed "Pearl on the Crown of Ice and Snow."
More than 1 million visitors are expected to attend the dazzling ice festival, which runs through February.
International ice sculptors will compete for honors at the festival.
The event offers more than 100 events, covering tourism, culture, trade, sports, and fashion.
It always begins on January 5.
At night, the creations are illuminated from within by LED lighting.
A large source of the huge blocks of ice needed to make these chilly wonders is the nearby Songhua River, which yields the raw material for the sculptors.
The sculptors then use a variety of saws, picks and chisels on the ice blocks, working long hours leading up to the festival.
The festival's origins date to 1963, with Harbin's winter ice lantern shows, a tradition for the city.
An ice lantern festival and an international ice sculpture expo run concurrently with the broader festival.