Three icy places to stay and play

By Jennifer Ennion

From igloos to heli lodges in the Canadian wilderness, Jennifer Ennion looks at three of the Northern Hemisphere's top snow hotels.

Austria's Iglu Village Kuhtai is a small 'resort' with about 12 igloos, depending on weather conditions.
Austria's Iglu Village Kuhtai is a small 'resort' with about 12 igloos, depending on weather conditions.

Mike Wiegele's Heliski Village, Canada

This resort is the stuff heli dreams are made of. Situated in Blue River, British Columbia, this is luxury accommodation in one of Canada's prettiest locations.

There are 22 hand-crafted log chalets, some of which have a helicopter pad by the door. The resort is also self-contained, featuring a restaurant, wine cellar, lounge area, fitness centre, games room, boutique clothing store, and a sports shop where you can have your hardware tuned and waxed.

It also has its own reservations centre if you want to extend your stay (and you will), and a conference room. This is the perfect place to base yourself for that heli adventure.

Iglu Village Kuhtai, Austria

If you're tired of staid hotel rooms, check out Iglu Village Kuhtai, 35km from Innsbruck Airport in Austria's southwest.

At the base of Kuhtai ski resort, the village is 2020m above sea level.

The "suites" (or igloos) have been hand-shaped inside, with inner walls featuring ice-sculpture art. A mattress sits in a slab of ice and is covered with sheepskins and goose-down sleeping bags, which come in handy given the temperature inside the igloos is always 0C.

This is a small "resort", with about 12 igloos built depending on weather conditions. There is a main igloo where fondue is served for dinner and gluhwein for apres.

Icehotel, Sweden

This place is mind-blowing. It's not your usual igloo accommodation, drawing attention to itself by combining ice and art.

It can be found in Jukkasjarvi, a small village 200km above the Arctic Circle in Sweden.

Bed "frames" are sculpted into an array of wonderful designs. Basically, the bed is built from a block of ice and is surrounded by more creatively carved blocks.

Underneath the mattress sits a wooden base, while on top are reindeer skins and a thermal sleeping bag. Doors have been replaced by curtains, while guests can use the toilets, communal changing room and sauna in a warm section of the hotel.

If you find it's just too chilly, you can spend the next night in a timber chalet. The hotel features two restaurants, a lounge, and a champagne bar and ice bar. You can also go dog sledding, snowmobiling, ice driving, and horse riding, learn about the Sami people, and watch the Northern Lights.

- AAP

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