There are plenty of hot ski bars in which to enjoy a cocktail, but Park City's Waldorf Astoria ice lounge is the coolest.
The lounge, which is on an outdoor terrace, includes 14 feet of bar with furniture, all hand-sculpted from large blocks of ice.
The luxury hotel about 30 miles southeast of downtown Salt Lake City officially opened the lounge Dec. 20 for the 2013-14 season.
This is the second season the Waldorf has offered an ice bar experience, said food and beverage director Joseph Fisher.
“Last year, we got great feedback from guests and people who visited the bar,” he said. But mostly people just took a photo and left.
“This year we've expanded and turned the deck into a lounge experience,” he said.
It is adjacent to Powder, the hotel's signature restaurant. In addition to the bar and furniture — couches and chairs are covered with fur blankets so your bottom won't freeze — the lounge will offer special lighting, music and an expanded drink menu.
There's even a view. The upper deck of the lounge overlooks the pool and a fire pit where each night guests roast house-made marshmallows for s'mores, Fisher said. “The goal is to have people hang out and really have a new experience.”
Last year, the ice bar only served Champagne. This year, mixologists have created six signature cocktails, each one named for a Utah mountain, including Mt. Olympus, Mt. Nebo and Twin Peaks.
Ice bars have become popular at winter resorts throughout the country. There are even a few year-round ice bars. The Mandalay Place and Monte Carlo Resort and Casinos in Las Vegas both have minus5°, a bar where everything — the walls, the bar, the seats and even the cocktail glasses — is made of ice.
For the Waldorf Astoria's lounge, a team of six ice carvers from Amazing Ice Creations in Salt Lake City spent more than a week creating the bar. This year's space has a front and back bar, both about seven feet long, with a design that matches some of the wrought iron that runs through the Park City property.
“Each piece has to be hand-carved and fitted,” said Amazing Ice Creations owner Dan Theron, who has been “playing with ice” for about 20 years. “We do a lot of carving in the studio first and then go on site and finish it.”
During his ice-carving career, Theron has carved everything from Cinderella's Castle to the LDS Temple to life-size snowflakes for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Most ice carvings last a short time — only an evening if it's for a special event or party.
The outdoor bar will have a longer life.
“The Waldorf has a nice overhang that keeps the sun off of it,” Theron said, adding that he'll return several times over the next few months “to look things over and change pieces if necessary.”
Still, customers should visit soon, as it will probably only last through February, depending on the weather.
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IF YOU GO
Waldorf Astoria Ice Lounge
An outdoor lounge that includes a 14-foot bar and furniture, all hand-sculpted from large blocks of ice.
Where: Waldorf Astoria, 2100 Frostwood Drive, Park City; 435-647-5500.
Cost: Cocktails range from $12 to $25.