Flickr/charley1965

Just in case.

The temperatures are dropping in Sweden's north.

Today, the high never made it above freezing in the small town of Jukkasjärvi, a hamlet 125 miles above the Arctic Circle that boasts more canine than human residents. When the 24th annual ICEHOTEL opens in early December, however, that nighttime population will swell.

But first, the building has to be brought up to code. Fire code.

Though the hotel is constructed entirely from the ice of the nearby Torne River, the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building, and Planning has put its foot down. They are insisting that it meet the same safety standards as all new construction projects. This means installing fire alarms in the colossal project, made of 1,000 tons of river ice and 30,000 additional tons of "snice," a special mixture of snow and ice used to strengthen the building.

"We were a little surprised when we found out," hotel spokeswoman Beatrice Karlsson told English-language news website The Local. "But we do understand. Safety is a primary concern for us."

While the building material is obviously not very flammable, the trappings that help keep visitors warm at night, including reindeer skins, mattresses, pillows, and sleeping bags, could present some risk. So the hundred workers and artists involved in the annual construction project have had to adapt to this new and complex igloo addition.

"The environment is humid, and ice and snow... move, so it had to be taken into account," Karlsson told the AFP. "It's been a challenge for our building team, but it made us one experience richer."

Top Image: The bar at Sweden's ice hotel. Courtesy Flickr user charley1965.

About the Author

Stephanie Garlock
Stephanie Garlock

Stephanie Garlock is a former fellow at CityLab.

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