The ice is harvested from mid-March to mid-April. At that time, the ice is about 80 centimetres thick. Tractors and custom-made tools are used, to be able to saw and lift, the about two tonnes, heavy ice blocks from the river. The ice blocks are then stored in -5°C until the coming winter to be used in next season’s version of the ICEHOTEL.
The Torne River
When other hotels talked about the importance of recycling, ICEHOTEL always took it a step further by recycling the entire hotel. When spring arrived in Swedish Lapland, ICEHOTEL melted and poured itself back into the Torne River, the origin of the ice used to build the hotel.
Every winter ICEHOTEL borrows several hundred tonnes of ice from the Torne River, only to give it back when spring arrives. And it is a bit of hassle, dragging up about 5,000 tonnes of natural ice. One might even wonder why decent tap water wouldn’t do? But here, in the ice, lies the beauty of ICEHOTEL.
At this exact spot in the river, the water flows at a perfect pace. Not too fast so the rapids stir up the sediments on the river floor, enough to keep the oxygen levels rich (compared to oxygen-low tap water which turns milky white when frozen), yet slow enough, giving the ice time to thicken. The result is pure, crystal clear ice. And thanks to the rivers pristine source 200 km north of the Arctic Circle, it also free of pollutants and makes excellent drinking water.
Actually, there’s a funny story about that.
– We were about to attend an event in the US where we were supposed to sculpt from blocks of Torne River ice. But the ice got stopped in customs. They did loads of test making sure that the ice didn’t contain any toxins and whatnot, says Arne Bergh. The tests came back with the quote: Cleaner than water.
And while you’re visiting in summer, do go down to the river bank and have a look. Within two minutes, an ICEHOTEL has passed before your eyes in the shape of a free-flowing river.