Travel stories: Erica & Andrew, US, learn ice sculpting and dog sledding
Erica Roberts and Andrew Batek came all the way from northern Michigan to experience ICEHOTEL. Here they share their experience of learning ice sculpting, going on an overnight dog sledding adventure, tasting reindeer and of course, spending a night below zero.
The couple is found with chisels in their hands, deeply focused on the ice blocks in front of them. They’ve spent the morning participating in the ICEHOTEL ice sculpting class, learning how to sculpt in ice. With guidance from a professional artist, the initially square ice blocks are mid-transformation into works of their own imagination. “Sculpting in ice is awesome. It’s fascinating how every piece of ice is unique and the kind of way you look for shapes inside the block when you are carving” Batek says.
Today is the last day of their three-day stay at ICEHOTEL. The arctic adventure began with an overnight dog sled tour to a wilderness camp located off-grid in the Arctic tajga forest. When setting off in the late afternoon with their own team of huskies, the sun was just setting and glistened through the trees as they passed through the deep woods. “Driving the dog sled was the coolest thing I’ve done in my life, it’s amazing!” Erica bursts out.
As they reach the wilderness camp, the hot sauna awaits to get the blood circulation going. But first, all the guests are tasked to care for their teams of huskies – helping out with feeding and de-harnessing after the ride. When the dogs are fed and happy, a three course dinner is served by the fireplace in main cottage.
Waking up next morning it’s time to head back to ICEHOTEL. Batek’s dog sled took an accidental tumble on their journey back. “In my husky team I had two sisters leading in front. Suddenly, they got into a fight, barking and running in to each other. With the other dogs following it resulted in my sled falling over. Then I just had to tip the sled back and continue the otherwise peaceful tour”.
Luckily, the fluffy, white blanket of snow softened the fall and apart from that little incident, Erica and Andrew agrees that it was much easier to learn driving the dog sled than they’d first expected.
They spent the rest of the day wandering around in ICEHOTEL, looking at all the art suites and sculptures adorning the hotel. In the evening, they had a table booked at the warm ICEHOTEL restaurant.The menu consists of local delicacies and staple diets, like moose, ptarmigan, Arctic char and wild berries. Erica and Andrew, whom has never tried reindeer before, decide to give it a go and are pleasantly surprised by the experience. The reindeer meat is quite lean, and holds multifold nutrients compared to meat from cattle, since their diet is diverse and they feed mostly off trees, moss, wild berries and mushrooms in the forests.
The clock is approaching midnight and the ice bed calls. It’s time to change into long johns and cuddle up in the thermal sleeping bags. The morning after, they awake in awe. Although the mercury showed -5°C (23°F), the couple agrees it was a great experience sleeping at ICEHOTEL, and to their surprise they weren’t bothered by the temperature. What really fascinated them was the light installation in the suite. “We actually left the lights on so we could wake up and see it all in the morning” Erica says.
Erica and Andrew conclude with a big smile on their faces that their stay has been an amazing experience, a memory they’ll never forget.
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