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How an Off-Season Hobby Grew into a Slick Business Brent Christensen's Ice Castles creates frozen fantasies, and business is heating up.

By Jenna Schnuer

This story appears in the January 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Bryan Rowland
Worlds of wonder: Ice Castles incorporate tunnels, archways and other architectural elements.

The Entrepreneur

California native Brent Christensen, founder of Ice Castles, didn't have any experience living in cold climates when he moved to Alpine, Utah, in 2000. His seasonal summer business -- a mobile lawnmower repair company -- left him plenty of time to goof off during the winter. He noticed that a neighbor was building a just-because-he-could giant mound of ice in his yard by directing running water onto a pole.

"For some reason I thought it was really cool," Christensen says. Soon after, he started experimenting, blanketing everything from a wooden tripod to bicycles under ice. "I'd like to say the kids were in on it, but it was mostly just me. It was fun to see the ice take over everything." The following winter, Christensen went even bigger, crafting a slide that banked off the neighbor's fence and ended on an ice rink. "I got all this lumber and constructed a framework that was about 20 feet high. It was a massive, crazy thing."

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