RIGBY, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - A winter wonderland has arrived in the heart of Rigby.
The astounding Labelle Lake Ice Palace has opened its doors for 2020-2021 season. Every snow and ice structure at the palace is built every year by the Youngstrom family, who have created a hidden gem in Southeast Idaho.
"You walk in here, and you feel like you're in Antarctica or just somewhere that's totally different," Director Kira Martin said. "So, that's been really fun to just create that fill of magic and that winter wonderland experience."
Owner Jim Youngstrom says the family doesn't use icicles, but instead build the structure from scratch using ice of different shapes.
"Our building base for our whole stretchers is 100% ice," Youngstrom said. "We use these different shapes and create our buildings, and then we hit it with water when we are done building them."
Still, Younstrom says his family has spent almost $500,000 in attorney fees fighting an icicle lawsuit from the Utah-based company Ice Castles.
"This patent that they have that we believe is invalid, it doesn't affect us, because we don't build with icicles," Youngstrom said. "But the thing is, it affects people clear across the United States in how they can and cannot use an icicle. I don't believe anyone should be told that. It’s something that's built in nature and they shouldn't have that patent."
Martin says the lawsuit hasn't put a freeze on turnout at LaBelle Lake.
"It's been a great season so far," Martin said. "We had amazing weather as far as just being cold as soon as we started building. We were able to open December 18th, and it was the biggest we've ever been on opening day."
For Jim, being able to see the look on people's faces when seeing the Ice Palace makes all the difference.
"There is nothing better than when you see a family come in and the little kids that are just in awe and even the parents just enjoying it wondering how this is done," Youngstrom said. "It is very magical."
Starting Jan. 1, the Ice Palace will be open Thursday through Saturday.