By Matt Kroschel

DILLON, Colo. (CBS4)– Forty-foot towers, tunnels and igloos are taking shape in Dillon. When the frozen project is done, parts of the ice castle in a Summit County baseball field could reach up to 56 feet tall.

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“We are growing thousands and thousands of acres of ice, placing them by hand,” ice farmer Dan Beck told CBS4’s Matt Kroschel on Thursday.

Crews are working around the clock to grow ice, so they call themselves ice farmers.

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“We run thousands of feet of water lines, low-voltage lines for our lights, it’s a major project,” Beck added.

Back for a second year in a row, Ice Castles workers are racing to finish the castle in time to open before Christmas.

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Last year’s mild winter meant a delayed opening and flooding problems from the melting ice, those seem to be resolved this time around.

“This had been a more normal Colorado winter, much better for us,” Beck says.

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This year’s castle will include ice slides, secret passages and water fountains.

“We have already made some tunnels and we have a waterfall planned, fingers crossed it works,” he added.

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And if last year’s massive crowds are any indication, lines that reached around the block, the Ice Castles will be busy again this season.

The Dillon Ice Castles drew tens of thousands of visitors in 2017 and brought about $3 million to the local economy, according to the Utah company that runs the attraction.

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“It is very gratifying when people come to enjoy it.”

Right now, opening day hasn’t been announced but early bird tickets are on sale.

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Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

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