Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Quebec's Ice Hotel. You've got to be kidding me!

Photo credit: Etolane

This past weekend, I traveled to the Quebec City area to do some skiing. Aside from the fact that the weather was so cold that we might as well have had sandpaper on our boards, it was great to get outside.

Our first skiing stop was the Station Touristique Duschesney. I've always known it as a great place to ski, though I haven't been there in years. But in recent times, it has also been home to Quebec's so-called "Ice Hotel." We drove past this curiosity as we were leaving Duschesney in search of our chalet for the night.

Now I remember as a kid always loving fireplaces. But my grandfather never had a fireplace in his home, though he possessed just about every other amenity a house could have. When I asked him why he didn't have one, he replied  that during his childhood in England, the only source of heat most houses had was a stove that constantly had to be supplied with coal. So the idea of a fireplace as a luxury was anathema to him.

I think most Canadians must feel a little bit the same way about the ice hotels, of which there are apparently several around the world. When you spend a good 4 months out of the year making major efforts to keep warm, the idea of paying good money (and lots of it--rates start at about $600/night for two) to sleep in a glorified igloo seems like an idea for people with more money than brains.

That night, the temperature in the Quebec City region dropped down to about -30 degrees Celsius. I fear the poor saps staying in the ice hotel that night may have resorted to burning wads of cash to keep warm.

I wonder what my grandfather would have said.

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