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Millennium Snow Castle

Millennium Snow Castle
February 5, 2000

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Rudy: It's a good time to talk about paradise -- we could all use some inspiration to get through these cold months. But there are those people, that rare breed, that are able to create paradise out of their existing environment -- no matter how cold. And here's Michelle Kholos with this week's culture watch to tell us about one of these rare breeds way up in Kemi, Finland.

Michelle: Hi, Rudy.

Rudy: Hi, Michelle. This is kind lemons and lemonade story, huh?

Michelle: Well, yeah, seems in Kemi, Finland, snow and ice are more than just a part of winter. They're the basic building blocks of the Millennium Snow Castle.

Rudy: Snow castle?

Michelle: Yep. They've been working on it since winter began and it opens next weekend -- an entire complex of art galleries, and parks. There's a snow restaurant...even a 20-room snow hotel. And the entire structure is made from scratch each winter, using only snow and ice.

Rudy: Cool!

Michelle: When you walk up to the castle, you pass through a park filled with (what else?) dozens of ice sculptures. Then, you cross the ice-drawbridge and into another gallery filled with more artwork -- these are made from glass and lit with different colored lights. In the castle yard is the traditional ice fountain (don't ask me how they keep the water from freezing) and along the back wall is where they keep the dog sleds and ponies, which anyone can ride.

Now, it all melts away by May, so you've only got a few cold months to get over there. Next weekend is the grand opening, with choral singing, the blessing of the ice chapel and the first ice hotel suites opening up.

So I guess snow can be more than just a fact of winter; in Finland, it's castles and art. And, now, it's this week's Culture Watch.


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