LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – For the last two years, a Utah-based winter entertainment company has raised up an annual kingdom of ice at Charles R. Wood Park – and both times, the structure has had a hard time staying intact against above-freezing weather. Now, the crew behind Ice Castles is proposing a rebrand for winter at the Queen of American Lakes.
Last week, Ice Castles Vice President of Events Jared Henningsen visited the Warren County Occupancy Tax Coordination Committee to talk about the company’s plans to rebrand. This winter, it’s not a castle coming to Lake George – it’s a “Winter Realm.”
“We’ve tried Ice Castles in its original form for the last two years, and unfortunately we’ve lost money doing so,” Henningsen said. “The weather hasn’t been kind to us in Lake George, but the community has, and that’s why I’m here with you today.”
Henningsen explained that Ice Castles is adopting a weather-resilient model, changing its attractions in ways that can better withstand unexpected warm spells. Last winter, Ice Castles Lake George had to delay opening into early February as warm weather kept the 25 million pounds of ice unstable and drippy, in no condition for anyone to enjoy. In both of its years in Lake George, the castle-sized attraction has seen numerous closures on weekends when the weather didn’t cooperate.
To that end, 2023-24’s Winter Realm attraction trades in a frozen castle in favor of an ice skating rink, holiday lights designed by sister brand Christmas in Color, and insulated ice sculptures. The sculptures will be designed with the understanding that they, too, may melt. A crew onsite in Lake George will keep producing new sculptures to replace old ones as needed.
Just like growing thousands of icicles, creating a skating rink and continuous flow of sculptures is not a cheap process. Ice Castles has requested $150,000 in Warren County funding to cover the costs. Most of that will go into the rental costs needed to set up the skating rink, with the rest supplementing other setup.
A more weather-flexible event means a wider open season. Ice Castles hopes to open the Winter Realm attraction around Thanksgiving, giving the organization more than two months of additional time in Lake George, compared to the last two years of Ice Castles.
Ticket prices were yet to be disclosed. Last year, tickets were priced at $22 and $15 for adults and children during the week, respectively; or $29 and $22 during the weekend. When tickets and other information do go live, it will all still be on the existing Ice Castles website.
Lake George is one of five U.S. communities where Ice Castles operates attractions. Others include New Brighton, Minnesota; Woodstock, New Hampshire; Midway, Utah; and Geneva, Wisconsin.