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Signs of spring: Roger 'Iceman' Hanson's 64-foot ice sculpture collapses [IMAGES]

Hanson's sculpture next to his house on March 21, three days before the collapse.
Hanson's sculpture next to his house on March 21, three days before the collapse.
all photos courtesy Roger Hanson

Early on Sunday morning, right around 3:45 a.m., Roger Hanson's wife woke him up. "When she nudged me, I knew immediately what it was about," says Hanson.

The 64-foot-high, 90-foot-wide ice sculpture next to their house had started to crack. By dawn, Hanson's winter passion project, the wall of ice he had painstakingly built up for months, was a pile of crumbled ice at the base of some scaffolding and spraying towers.

"It came sooner this year than I thought it would," says Hanson. "I thought this thing was going to last 15 or 20 more days, but every year I learn something new. This project did not disappoint me in terms of its unpredictability."

See Also:
- Roger 'Ice Man' Hanson builds another 100-foot-wide, 62-foot-tall sculpture, wants the world record [IMAGES]
- May 2011: 64-foot-tall ice castle comes tumbling down [VIDEO]
- March 2011: Roger 'Ice Man' Hanson builds a 64-foot ice castle in his backyard

When we talked to Hanson in February, the computer programmer was well into his seventh season of sculpting, and hoping to break 70 feet in height by March 1.

Mechanical difficulties kept him from that towering goal, but before Sunday morning's cracking, the sculpture stood about six inches taller than last year's. Here it is during its last days:

March 22.
March 22.
March 23.
March 23.

And then...

The middle-of-the-night collapse, March 24.
The middle-of-the-night collapse, March 24.
Signs of spring: Roger 'Iceman' Hanson's 64-foot ice sculpture collapses [IMAGES]
Signs of spring: Roger 'Iceman' Hanson's 64-foot ice sculpture collapses [IMAGES]
Signs of spring: Roger 'Iceman' Hanson's 64-foot ice sculpture collapses [IMAGES]
Signs of spring: Roger 'Iceman' Hanson's 64-foot ice sculpture collapses [IMAGES]
Signs of spring: Roger 'Iceman' Hanson's 64-foot ice sculpture collapses [IMAGES]

Now that his ice wall is down for the season, Hanson's turning his energies away from water-spraying-robot rejiggering and toward clean-up, like taking down cables and infrastructure, and clearing trees that the ice wall took down with it ("That piece of ice had to weigh close to 100,000 pounds," Hanson says. "Everything in its way was completely obliterated"). And, of course, there's next winter to think about.

"I've got dreams and aspirations of making this much larger, but my canvas is not big enough," Hanson explains. "I really need more room, for property and safety reasons."

The Iceman hopes to attract interest from an arboretum or museum, or, "as a last resort," a retail sponsor like the Mall of America.

"But that's really last," Hanson clarifies. "I want something people can come and enjoy without any restrictions. The kind of person who will go out and find this, it's really satisfying to see people like that in this world."

For more photos and features, check out Hanson's site.


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