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Dancing Auroras, one of the suites in the latest Icehotel (photo: Icehotel)

Sweden’s new Icehotel opens for winter

The latest (29th) version of the famous temporary hotel has just opened, its suites carved by artists from around the world.

A candy shop filled with giant sweets, a swimming ice woman, a cat preying on goldfish in a frozen pond and a flock of Arctic terns are among the themes of the suites at the latest Icehotel, which is now in its first week of opening.

A total of 34 artists from 13 countries have spent an intense couple of weeks in Jukkasjärvi, northern Sweden, to create the 29th annual incarnation of the hotel made entirely out of ice and snow from the Arctic River Torne.

Much of this year’s art is inspired by nature. In the suite Spruce Woods by Christopher Pancoe and Jennie O’Keefe from Canada, guests can sit down around a fire (of ice) in a camping site in the forest.

Jonathan Green from England has created The Living Ocean Suite with his daughter Marnie Green, an underwater world filled with corals, shells and fish.

Jonas Johansson, Jordi Claramunt and Lukas Petko from Sweden, Catalonia and Slovakia created the suite Haven in which a magical portal of ice is guarded by the Clever Fox and the Fiery Phoenix, and only the pure-hearted may enter.

Stored through summer
Building the seasonal hotel starts in March when 2,500 tons of ice is harvested from the Torne. The ice is then stored until October when the building of the next Icehotel starts.

A portion of the ice is set aside for making plates, bowls and glasses as well as international commissions for events and pop-up ice experiences.

A couple of weeks before the opening, 33 artists from 13 different countries arrive in Jukkasjärvi to sculpt 15 unique suites of ice and snow, one ice ceremony hall for weddings and ceremonies, plus a main hall featuring columns and chandeliers.

A building team, ice production team, art support and lighting designers work together with the artists and create an additional 20 ice rooms.

The main building material is ‘snice’, a mixture of snow and ice, and 30,000 cubic metres of snice are used for the floors, ceilings and walls. The chandeliers, meanwhile, hold 1,000 ice crystals sculpted and mounted by hand.

The total amount of ice used by the hotel equals 10 seconds’ water flow in the Torne. Once winter is over, the hotel melts back into the river in April.

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