Building with Water: An Icy Endeavor

Say it with us: Ice is the new brick! It may seem physically impossible, but some of the world’s most breathtaking structures consist entirely of frozen water.

Whether permanent, semi-permanent or temporary, these renowned structures push the boundaries of traditional architecture and have us wanting to travel the world just to catch a glimpse of their beauty. 

 

Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel — Finnmark, Norway

Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel rests in the county of Finnmark, Norway and was first introduced to the world in 1999. It is the largest, northernmost ice hotel in Europe and the second ever constructed in the world.  

Like Sweden’s IceHotel, the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel is reconstructed annually. The hotel consists of 30 rooms, a chapel and ice gallery, all of which adhere to a new theme each year. Sorrisniva is open for reservations from mid-December through the beginning of April every year.

 

IceHotel — Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Sweden’s IceHotel—the first in the world—was founded in 1989 and has been rebuilt every year since its inception. With 55 rooms, 10 restaurants and an ice chapel, the IceHotel undoubtedly attracts a lot of attention. In fact, artists from all over the world apply for an opportunity to contribute to the hotel’s building and design every year.

The hotel, built naturally with ice and snow from the nearby Torne River, is open annually from December through April and ultimately melts in the summer—only to be rebuilt again the following year. Those who book a stay at the incredible IceHotel in the winter months have a chance to see the Aurora Borealis firsthand.

 

Hôtel de Glace — Quebec, Canada

The Hôtel de Glace (“Ice Hotel”), originally built in 2001, was the first ice hotel in North America. This 44-room hotel is furnished with deer furs for warmth and contains a chapel, spa and even a slide constructed of ice. It generally requires 50 workers and an estimated month and a half to construct the building, which consists of 30,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice. The hotel is available for booking from January until March, and rooms start at $450 per person.

 

Winter Carnival — St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

After a New York reporter referred to Saint Paul, Minnesota as “another Siberia, unfit for human habitation” in 1885, the city’s population decided to take a stand. They created what is now known as the Saint Paul Winter Carnival and have since constructed a total of 36 ice palaces as chief attractions to the annual carnival. Unfortunately, the city is unable to build an ice palace for every carnival and the latest structure was constructed in 2004—nearly 13 years ago!

Ice Palace — St. Petersburg, Russia

In 1740, the world’s first known ice palace was commissioned by Russia’s Empress Anna Ivanovna to celebrate Russia’s victory over the Ottoman Empire. The empress requested the construction of an enormous ice palace to commemorate the victory. In 2005, Russian historians teamed up with ice sculptor Valerij Gromov to recreate the ice palace.

From hotels to palaces to everything in between, buildings made from ice are impressive both as works of art and feats of engineering. For more winter wanderlust, check out our guide to water-tastic vacations

 

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5 Keys to a Safe, Stress-Free Bath

 

Nothing quite beats a relaxing bath to unwind after a long day. But before hopping in the tub, remember to put safety first. There are potential hazards that could arise during bath time such as slipping, falling, or even drowning.

January is nationally recognized as Bath Safety Month, so there is no better time to read up on our complied tips for keeping your time in the tub relaxing and safe. 

Keep an Eye on the Kids

Obviously, small children should never be left alone or unsupervised while in the tub. Kids aged four and under are at the greatest risk for bath-related accidents and should remain under guardian supervision at all times. Ideally, children should bathe with some degree of adult supervision until they have reached at least seven or eight years of age.  

Rinse Away Those Suds

A sudsy bathtub floor is the perfect surface for slipping. To prevent an unpleasant and dangerous fall in the bath, rinse away as much foam, bubbles and sudsy bath residue as you can before standing up and exiting the tub. If the floor remains slick, proceed with extreme caution and consider installing a handrail to make bath time safer.

Traction Prevents Tripping

One effective strategy for preventing a sudsy slip is to invest in a traction pad or adhesive for the tub floor. These affordable, easily accessible items reduce the risk of falling by creating friction for the feet and prevent the potential of leaving behind a slick surface. Implementation of bathtub traction pads is beneficial to bath-goers of all ages, since everyone from toddlers to senior citizens can potentially suffer from a fall. 

Soothing, NOT Scalding

Hot baths are lovely, but it’s important to remember baths are intended to be soothingnot scalding! When filling up the tub for a bath, make sure to check the water temperature several times before climbing in. If it is too warm for comfort, run a bit of cold water, and then check the temperature of the bath again before you enter.

This advice is particularly important when preparing a bath for small children, since they are more likely to jump right into a hot bath without considering the temperature. Additionally, children do not have the same capabilities as adults when it comes to handling extreme temperatures. Bath water that’s just hot enough for you might be too warm for a little one, so use extra caution when preparing a child’s tub. 

Steer Clear of Sharp Edges

It’s easy to forget that sharp edges can act as a bath safety hazard. Bathtub faucets, drains and showerheads could pose a risk of cuts or scrapes, and become dangerous when accompanied by a slip or fall.

To reduce the potential of a scrape, use rubber faucet and drain covers and hide any sharp edges with a towel or soft material. If you have young children, steer clear of any bath toys that have harsh edges or are made of hard plastic—nobody wants to land on those in the event of a stumble.

The next time the January cold gets to you, we hope you’ll keep these precautions in mind before indulging in a warm, relaxing bath. Don’t forget your rubber ducky! 

 

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Wading Through the New Year with Water Fitness

It’s at the top of every list of New Year’s resolutions: Exercise. Getting fit. Going to the gym.

The first weeks of January are known to see an influx in gym memberships, but those quickly fizzle out over the following months. To help you stay on track and enjoy your exercise regimen, experts suggest that variety is key. With this in mind, perhaps try one of the following water-based fitness activities in 2017.  

Swimming

When we talk about water, swimming always comes to mind. As an exercise dating back to prehistoric times, swimming provides a full-body workout through numerous stroke variations. Whether you freestyle, breast stroke or doggy paddle in a lake, ocean or swimming pool, swimming offers a plethora of opportunities to have fun while getting fit.

Rowing

 Rowing (or “crew”) is generally thought of as a competitive sport, but who said you have to be a professional athlete to hop in a kayak and paddle out on the lake? Rowing primarily works the upper body, back and shoulders, and it’s even known to improve posture. If a water source and/or kayak or canoe isn’t easily accessible, most gyms nowadays have a variety of rowing machines. Be sure to take the necessary precautions to stay safe if you hit the water!

Ice Skating

Ice is simply frozen water, and the winter months open up the option to hit many outdoor rinks remain open through mid-February. Take a lap around the rink or get some friends together for a game of pick-up hockey.

Skating will strengthen your leg muscles while improving balance and posture. Indoor ice rinks are accessible year-round, but nothing beats the open air of an outdoor rink in the winter months. Take advantage of the season before it’s too late!

Water Aerobics 

Traditionally a form of resistance training, water aerobics courses have now evolved to incorporate popular fitness trends such as Zumba, yoga and cycling in order to create an engaging group fitness setting. Water aerobics courses are timeless. We suggest stepping out of your comfort zone and trying one out in 2017.

FloatFit™

Yoga on top of water? The newest water fitness trend of 2017 is FloatFit™, a 30-minute HIIT exercise regimen involving stretches, yoga, pilates and squats. This modern fitness trend is performed on a specially designed $700 aquabase®. Unfortunately, if you’re interested in trying the hot new workout, FloatFit™ is currently only offered at TMPL Gym in New York City—the sole location in the United States. But if you happen to be in the area sometime in 2017, hop in to give it a try.


No matter which fitness routines you try in 2017, we hope you all reach your goals and fulfill every resolution you’ve made for the new year. Happy New Year from all of us at Aqua!

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