Warm weather again dashes Iceman's dreams of breaking world record

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Roger "Iceman" Hanson's European ice castle won't break the world record this year.

The castle – standing 45-feet tall, 72-feet wide and 12-feet thick – is the main attraction at the Lake Superior Ice Festival, which runs through Feb. 27 on Barkers Island.


But warm weather has again prevented Hanson from breaking the Guinness World Record for the tallest ice sculpture in the world.

On Feb. 19 he posted on Facebook that the fifth tier of the castle – standing 52 feet high – collapsed due to rain and 42 degree weather.


Instead of trying to gain more height, Hanson told the Wisconsin State Journal he’ll likely focus on spraying water at the base of the structure to reinforce it for the closing ceremonies on Saturday.

Warm weather caused his world record attempt to collapse last year, too – right before the opening day of the festival. But video of that collapse went viral and gave Hanson an international fan base.

He's been broadcasting his live progress on YouTube, which has drawn viewers from Russia, Germany, Australia, Canada, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Hanson started this year’s quest back in November, when he moved on to the island to start setting up his equipment, according to a post on his Facebook page.

Hanson, 65, is a self-taught software, mechanical and electrical engineer. He uses software to control a watering system that slowly builds the tower throughout the winter, and this year Hanson added a second spray tower to help with the project, the city notes. (Read more about his process here.)

Last year’s project cost the city about $32,444, but generated more than $300,000 worth of unpaid publicity for the region, the Superior Telegram reported. Despite the collapse, the project was deemed a success.

Hanson could be back again next winter, at least that’s the recommendation to the City Council from Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen, according to the La Crosse Tribune.

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