Posts Tagged ‘Ice Hotel’

Discover Culture of First Nations People at Ice Hotel, Quebec

Wedding Chapel: Hotel de GlaceA few years ago I got to cross off my bucket list the entry, “Stay at an Ice Hotel.” In Quebec, Canada, each year, the Hotel de Glace is constructed entirely of ice and snow. It is different each year with elaborate theme rooms carved from glowing ice with saturated lighting making everything ethereal (often slowly morphing from deep indigo to magenta to forest green and so on). The beds are ice, the glasses serving vodka in the bar are ice, the dance floor is snow, the walls are ice blocks, everything is frozen and genuinely a spectacle to be seen. There are a couple of heated trailers used as communal restrooms, and a hot tub…but aside from that, it’s pretty dang cold. The ice beds are topped with reindeer pelts as insulation, then there is a foam pad, and you are given a thermal sleeping bag with a washable silk liner. At bedtime, after the hotel is no longer open for tours, you leave all your luggage and belongings in big suitcase lockers at a building up the hill, then walk down to the ice hotel itself. They teach you techniques to put your clothes stacked on top of boots, and how to wrap yourself up like a mummy, but don’t cover your mouth since condensation will freeze and make you colder. It is not a romantic experience by any means, but not as edgy or uncomfortable as you might guess. The extreme cold outside your sleeping bag, and the extreme snuggliness of the world inside your bag, means you actually sleep for a few hours, if not the whole night through. I recommend a visit highly, to the Quebec ice hotel or one of the others in various Northern climes (but if asked to do it again, I’d probably cheerfully say once is enough for an overnight…but I’d love to visit during the day and early evening).

A thing I love about the Quebec Hotel de Glace, is that this year they are partnering with community members of the First Nations of Northern Quebec—the Inuit, Cris, Innus, and the Huronne-Wendat Nation as the host Nation, will promote their communities through various activities and demonstrations. During the last three weekends of February, game tasting, artistic performances, traditional Native camps, local initiative regarding durable development, and much more will be on hand, providing a fresh avenue for cross-cultural understanding. This makes it the perfect time to go.

Enjoy! (Brrrrrrr)

Snow Dogs

SO the STORM OF THE CENTURY had pretty much petered out by the time it reached us in southwestern Connecticut, but we got a few inches of snow. Enough to goof around and try to sled in the back yard today, wishing for a longer run and our husky, who is no longer with us, to tow us.

Dog sledding always kind of creeped me out–it seemed like something you’d have to whip the dogs to do–get them riled and force them to drag you along. I had the chance to dog sled in Quebec a few years ago while I was staying at the Ice Hotel, and I was AMAZED at how much the dogs wanted to run and run and run–they couldn’t get enough, they were desperate to start and loathe to rest, and they were cared for and respected in a really lovely way. Everyone was ALL ABOUT the dogs. Changed my mind completely.

DogsTrust was founded in 1891 and is the largest dog welfare charity in the UK, caring for over 16,000 dogs. Their Arctic Dog Sledding Challenge is a fund-raising trip 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle region in Sweden–a seven-day intensive sledding excursion through magnificent terrain, raising money and awareness for the care of British canines. The trip is back in 2010 due to popular demand, and is actually happening four separate times: February 12-18, February 19-25, March 5-11, and March 12-18.