We Went to a Rave in a Giant Snow Castle in Canada’s Far North


This story is over 5 years old.


We Went to a Rave in a Giant Snow Castle in Canada’s Far North

There was an ice slide.
March 29, 2016, 7:03pm

When you live in a city north of the 60th parallel, where the sun only rises for a few hours a day by the middle of December and the roads are covered in ice and snow for more than half the year, seeing February finally come to an end is cause for celebration.

For the past 21 years, the people in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, have been shaking off their winter blues by partying in a snow castle built on the frozen waters of Great Slave Lake. The castle has been built every winter under the watch of a house-boating versifier known simply as the Snowking. It originally started as a modest project so his children could have somewhere to play, but over the years, the Snowking and his crew have become increasingly ambitious with their plans.


As the castle has grown the festival has evolved into a month-long party in a frozen fortress that hosts concerts, burlesque and fashion shows, art exhibitions, as well as more family-friendly performances. For the past 10 years one of the most anticipated events has been the Royal Rave, which is hosted by the local Bush League DJs (King Friday and Soda Jerk). The rave is one of the biggest electronic music events in town, so partygoers tend to take the celebrations pretty seriously.

The castle is slowly melting back into the lake whence it came, but VICE captured this year's scene—including a giant two-lane slide made of ice that partygoers could race on.

Follow Cody Punter on Twitter.

The lineup to get inside the castle

People race down the slides in the courtyard of the castle.

The view from the top of the slide

Snowking watches his loyal subjects rave on from the VIP booth.

The lineup for the bathroom never seems to die down.

Kind Friday of Bush League DJs throw his hands up as his partner in crime, Soda Jerk, spins some tracks.

These tourists from Germany flew up to Yellowknife to see the Northern Lights but ended up taking a night off to go to the rave.

Just because you’re dancing on a frozen lake doesn’t mean you should forget to support public broadcasting.

There’s even a coat-check (nails used to hang up art when exhibitions are on) if you start to get sweaty.