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Utah man uses sprinklers to create towering ice castle

12:54 PM, Jan 24, 2011   |    comments
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MIDWAY, Utah (NBC) -- We've all seen ice sculptures before, but one Utah man has taken the art to a whole new level.

He's now showing off his work at the Zermatt Resort in Midway.

Brent Christensen is the man behind an incredible ice castle creation.

He got the idea to build one after his neighbor sprayed water onto a flag pole in freezing temperatures.

"It's just so intriguing to watch the ice form and to see the different ways it takes shape," Christensen says.

Even more intriguing was how in the world he ever convinced Zermatt Resort in Midway to let him build one on their property.

"I didn't really know what to expect," says David Martin, the resort's chief engineer.

Even though the project is only three weeks old, Martin says it's been getting lots of attention from people passing by.

"I've had people give us a call and say, 'Did your sprinklers break? What's going on?'" Martin says.

Sprinklers do supply the main ingredient for this project: water.

The second essential happens to be freezing temperatures.

"While the rest of us are trying to get inside, he's out here working, middle of the night, all by himself," says Martin.

Christensen even had to design his own sort of makeshift icicle farm where he grows icicles to be part of his creation.

"On something this big, we use probably over 1,000 icicles a day to place them to encourage growth or direct them where we want them to go," he says.

Christensen is encouraging that icicle growth to make the castles taller.

He says most will be 20 feet tall, but he's hoping to grow the main castle 40 feet high using icicles, snow, PVC pipes for sprinklers and crampons to walk up it.

"I'll be working on it all winter," says Christensen.

Martin admires the artist's dedication.

"He's kind of a mad scientist, I think," he says.

There's even a path around the castles so people can come in and get an up-close look at the amazing formations.

Christensen says creating ice castles isn't really an exact science.

It's more of a "lets see what happens" type of approach.

"So far it's actually turning out like I thought it would or like I hoped it would, which is kind of a miracle really," he says.

It's a miracle that's turning a lot of heads.

"Everybody just seems enthralled with it and it's great," Christensen says. "You can't ask for anything more satisfying than that."

Christensen says he'll continue working on the ice castles until late February or early March.

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