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Cool? Cold? Freezing!
-By Rani Iyer

Imagine a hotel that vanishes every spring! Imagine this is a white fairyland sparkling during winter! There exists a place on earth where it is possible to live in rooms made of ice and snow! We are talking about the ice hotel in the Arctic regions.
The North Pole seems to be a mass of ice in winter. Beginning January and until April, the ice and snow are sculpted into living quarters! About 4,500 tonnes of snow and 250 tonnes of ice go into building a hotel. Inside the ice hotel, you will be sitting on ice tables, chairs, and sleep on ice beds! The ice hotels over the years have improved tremendously and offer all the comforts of a normal hotel, except one: heat.

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It is all cold and freezing in the hotel! Visitors cannot complain for at -5 C indoors, they are warmer than -35 C outside! People sleep in their sleeping bags at -5 C and often say that it is toasty!
Visitors are greeted by ice sculptures when they enter the hotel. Most hotels have bars, and other entertainment offered to the visitors. Many visitors prefer to go out sledging, snow mobiling, or learn to walk with traditional snowshoes! The landscape is filled with white, fresh, powdery snow. The lakes and rivers are frozen into solid ice.
The idea of living in snow and ice is not new. Living close to the Arctic Circle, Igloos, of Native Americans formed their winter home for several hundreds of years. They used fresh blocks of ice and packed the snow leaving a small entrance to their homes. They melted the snow for drinking, and poached the meat of animals for food to tide over the harsh winter conditions. Some tribes don't hunt in winter, but eat the meat preserved for this purpose. Very few tribes now live in the traditional way. Some of them have taken up sedentary life to educate their kids.
Ice hotels are also found in Sweden, Greenland, Alaska and Canada. It is a good adventure for any person. Many of them offer daily rates, or weekly packages. However, one must be prepared to be bundled in warm clothes and be ready for a vigorous, brisk exercise such as hiking in the snow. The experience is unique. Try it to believe it!



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