A winter-time Minnesota tradition is coming back again: the Ice Castles.
They aren't the Eden Prairie Ice Castles anymore though, because they won't be in the southwestern Twin Cities suburb like usual. They'll be over on the metro's east side in Stillwater, instead.
On Wednesday, Ice Castles organizers posted to Facebook, "Just two more months until the magic happens!"
Officials tell WCCO that they plan to open the attraction late in December. Other years, it's always been dependent on weather, though.
The Stillwater location is one of five Ice Castles spots across North America. The others will be in Wisconsin Dells, Utah and New Hampshire. There's also one in Alberta, Canada.
Stillwater City Council Member Mike Polehna told the Stillwater Current a new winter attraction will be great for the city. He commented on business opportunities as well.
“I’m excited to see people from around the region enjoy our downtown in the winter months, too,” Polehna said.
And Ice Castles officials previously told the Pioneer Press that this wouldn't just be a one-time deal.
“We wanted a city that would agree to host it for a number of consecutive years; we want it to be a permanent fixture," said Amanda Roseth, the site manager.
To make the castle, workers make at least 10,000 icicles every day and organize them. Over time (and with the help of freezing water), those icicles just get absorbed into one giant ice structure.
Short season last year
Last year's unusually warm winter made for a short ice castle season.
The Minnesota attraction wasn't able to open until the end of January. From there, it wasn't even running a month before warm weather and rain shut it down for good.
GoMN did make it to the castles before they closed, though. You can check out a video here.
If forecasters are right, we shouldn't have that problem this year though. La Nina is supposed to bring colder temperatures and more snow.
The average temperature in Minnesota from December through February ranges from an average of 6 degrees in the north to 16 degrees in southern Minnesota, according to this map by the Minnesota Climatology Working Group. (For more seasonal normals, click here.)
NOAA says northwestern Minnesota has a roughly 40 percent chance of seeing temperatures that are colder than normal, while the rest of Minnesota has a 33 percent chance of being colder.