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Winter Wonderland - Artist, 75, Still Loves Creating His Ice Fantasy

N-ice work if you can get it where every year German artist Karl Neuhaus is asked to spend a month creating a spectacular fantasy world made out of ice even though none of his creations ever last into spring.

The ice fantasy world at Schwarzsee in the Fribourg Region of Switzerland has been fascinating visitors for 27 years and every year it becomes more spectacular than the year before – despite the fact that artist Neuhaus is now 75 years old.

As a schoolboy he was always fascinated with ice and snow and said: "I will never forget as a young boy taking a walk through the Woodlands and discovering how the ice and the snow had transformed everything into a magical landscape. I couldn't get the image out of my mind, and I wanted to be involved in creating something like it. I took my dad's garden hose and set up a sprinkler so that the water would spread and snaked into the middle of the woods where I created my very first ice sculpture.

"I then took the hose away and left it until I then noticed a picture that appeared in the local paper where everybody was puzzled about where the creation had come from. It was 11 metres tall by the time I'd finished with it and people were even coming from nearby villages simply to look at it."

He said that ever since then he had been dabbling with ice sculptures before deciding to create a magical fairytale world which has now been vanishing and reappearing every year now for 27 years.

He said: "My pleasure is the pleasure it gives visitors and it's really good that it seems to appeal to the old just as much as the young. We get people coming from far and wide as well and of course many of those visitors at night where the light effects are really spectacular.

The local tourist board said: "Most of the visitors come after a day's skiing at Schwarzsee and a trip to the ice palace is something everybody seems to want to do at least once.

"The sculptures are all centred around a wooden or metal constructions that are then covered with water when it's freezing to create the ice wonderland. There is a lot of imagination and fantasy involved in the ever more adventurous creations and they have now become a permanent fixture of the winter season every year for tourists. "

Umbrellas are turned upside down to create giant flowers, and simple everyday items like a rotary washing line are fitted with lights and turned into artistic spectacles.

As well as the buildings various fantasy creations such as illuminated giant squid, dogs, penguins and various fish and other fantasy creations have been added.

The main attraction though is the 50 foot-high ice palace at the centre of the ice wonderland in the middle of the wood. To reach it visitors either have to go through an ice tunnel or over a ice bridge – and the restaurant at the site serving hot food does good business.

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