Many towns have their local traditions and customs, often oddly specific but immensely interesting to witness. The town of Lycksele in Swedish Lapland is one of these places. It is the home to the world’s tallest ice pillar, which locals have lovingly crafted every winter for the last quarter-century.
The giant white ice pillar, or “Ispelare” is a local landmark created each year by sprinkling water out of a tall vertical pipe. The water slowly freezes over the pipe into a lovely Christmas tree-like structure. The height of the pillar has ranged between roughly 19 to 49 meters (63 feet and 163 feet) over the last 24 years. The tallest it has ever reached was 49.5 meters (163 feet) in 1999—about the height of a 15-story building.
It is the town’s dream to see the column reach and surpass 50 meters (164 feet). But with winters getting warmer and shorter all over the world—even in this subarctic town in northern Sweden—this may be a tough goal to achieve. In fact, the Lycksele city officials even considered stopping the project in 2018, but residents overwhelmingly voted to keep the local tradition and landmark alive.
Know Before You Go
The pillar is freely accessible during the winter months.