Full trip report coming soon, but tonight we are sleeping in an ice room at the Icehotel. We were upgraded from a normal room to an Ice Suite. The advice we received from fellow travelers that we met while snowmobiling and dog mushing was to not over layer as we’ll be warmer than expected. Each bed is covered in reindeer skins, plus you are given a winter equipped sleeping bag. So after a few drinks at the ice bar, we’ll retire to our Mermaid Suite wearing just thermal tops and bottoms as well as a hat and wool socks. Let’s see how this goes!
Icehotel was founded in 1989 and is rebuilt every winter, in the Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi – 200 km north of the Arctic Circle.
Entering the hotel and the walk to our room:
Grabbing drinks at the ice bar before heading to our room:
A few of the other art suites we got to take a look at, each one is designed by a unique artist, chapel at the bottom:
A few shots taken during the 2.5 hours of “sunlight”:
Landing in Kiruna, about a 1.5 hour flight from Stockholm:
The full trip report will cover the hotel itself, activities (including Northern Lights viewing), and dining. Full review of our flight experiences as well, including my first Norwegian experience (less than $100 from Kiruna – Stockholm – JFK) as well as our AAdvantage biz awards on the outbound -> Finnair had major delays and we were re-routed with Air Berlin.
Night, let’s hope I don’t have to walk to the bathroom!
When the cold arrives to the Arctic, the river also slows down and the landscape changes shape. This marks a period of intense activity on the shore in Jukkasjärvi – Icehotel is being reborn. “We see nature as our friend – we want to work with it rather than in spite of it. Sure, that means you can’t plan everything in detail, but at the same time that’s probably what makes it so much fun,” says Niklas Nyberg, who works in the construction team. Huge blocks of ice, weighing two tons apiece, were harvested from the river late the previous winter and have been stored in anticipation of the start of building. The drawings have been ready since May. At the end of November artists from all over the world come to Jukkasjärvi to be a part of Icehotel and turn their ideas into reality.
To be able to cast the building, “snice” is produced – a mixture of snow and ice made of water from the river. The snice is sprayed onto molds, which are removed once the structure has consolidated. It’s then finally time to continue the creative process inside the meter-thick walls. The aim is to use water from the Torne River as far as possible. The rooms are constructed in a classic, catenary arch shape, which is self-supporting and incredibly strong. Room after room is filled with snow and ice in the right amounts, so when the artists arrive they can get started and immediately turn their sketches into reality. Six weeks later it’s finished – with the work of many hands the river has changed shape and been transformed into art.