Igloo village: A fairytale castle of snow and ice

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20.12.2019 | Winter · Lifestyle

Igloo village: A fairytale castle of snow and ice

In the middle of Gstaad's winter wonderland, we encounter the Igloo Village, a secluded fairytale castle of snow and ice. Darkness is drawing in and, with every passing minute, a thousand twinkling stars become ever more prominent. Add to this, snow, falling silently across the white mountainscape in the middle of the night. It is probably one of those moments that keeps filling our hearts with wonderful stories.

And where better to pen stories like this than in Gstaad's Igloo Village? Surrounded by a starry sky and enjoying a "Schoggichueche" (that's Swiss for chocolate cake) beside an open fire in the Finnish kota? Alternatively, you could enjoy a sauna evening that also entails walking barefoot through the snow to take a dip in the heated outdoor jacuzzi. It's all simply perfect for dissipating the pre-Christmas stress that's been building up over the past few weeks.

But what does it actually take to build a village measuring 400 by 400 metres that comprises 25 igloos, a wellness area and a restaurant? To start with, around 1,500 tonnes of snow, tenfold more muscle power, colourful balloons inflated 75-100 times and, most importantly, three very talented snow and ice sculptors. It also takes a lot of patience, because this kind of construction takes 1,500-2,000 hours – but only if nature is on your side.

Every year, there are new sculptures to admire inside the Igloo Village. But this year they have all been formed to reflect “Modern Times”. By this we don't mean the popular feature film of the same name by Charlie Chaplin, but rather the abstract shapes that can be found in this year's igloos. These have been fashioned with the help of shovels, trowels and chainsaws and viewers need to remain mindful not fall under their entirely mesmerising spell.

Being able to experience everything again without a big fuss and allowing nature’s beauty to work its magic on you is particularly exciting. Once the ski visitors have deserted the mountain, a very special kind of silence sets in. After enjoying a cheese fondue together, you will venture out on a romantic snowshoe walk together with an experienced guide, where a thousand twinkling stars will be sure to touch every single heart. And for those visitors who firstly wish to gain an impression of the scope of the Igloo Village, the helpful staff will be pleased to show you around every day.

The winter ahead affords many opportunities to write lots of wonderful stories since the Igloo Village will remain open until the beginning of April 2020. So, let the snow swirl where it wants, compete against the wind for yodelling honours whilst your cheeks redden and allow the sensation of pure joy to overcome you.

How does an igloo village come into being?

  • In summer, the area for the site is marked out and the plan for the village is finalised. Then, at the beginning of December, 1,500 tonnes of snow will be cleared.
  • Next, differently shaped balloons made of welded truck tarpaulins are inflated, grouped together and fixed in place with iron rods to ensure that they don't move later, when they need to support tonnes and tonnes of snow.
  • The balloons are then covered with a layer of snow up to three metres thick with the help of snow blowers and muscle power; after one night this layer will have become solidified.
  • The next morning, the balloons are deflated. A passageway system connects the now completed igloos. As soon as the interiors are complete, the igloos are opened to visitors.

Opening dates
25.12.2019 to 04.04.2020
Fondue fun followed by torchlight descent every Thursday, stating 02.01.2020