Castles of ice will decorate Dillon this weekend as the winter attraction opens with reduced capacity due to coronavirus.
The acre-sized exhibit of ice towers, frozen thrones and fountains, and mazes of ice-carved slides and tunnels will be a slightly different experience this year with masks and social distancing among the safety precautions, organizers said in a news release.
"We recommend reserving tickets as soon as they go on sale," spokeswoman Melissa Smuzynski told The Gazette. "Last season, most weekends through the entire season sold out within the first few days after tickets went on sale, and that was with full capacity available."
The Dillon event is one of four in North America along with exhibits in Utah, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. The castles are built from as many as 12,000 icicles that are grown, harvested and sculpted by a group of 20-40 artisans. The sculptures are lit with color-changing LED lights that glow through the frozen art.
"Building an ice castle is a fascinating process that is always changing," Anna Closser, the castle's build manager said. "Ice is so unpredictable. Each day there is a different problem to solve."
But time to see the exhibit is limited as it is weather dependent and usually lasts until March. That's why the castle is built near a natural water source so the water can return directly to the environment once it melts, organizers said.
Tickets will be available online as Friday morning and start at $12.99 for kids and $17.99 for adults on weekdays and cost $17.99 for kids and $22.99 for adults on weekends.
Seth Boster contributed to this report.