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Icy hot spots

From hotels made of solid ice to Hollywood's winter retreat, here are some sure shot ways to heat up the winter.

india Updated: Dec 09, 2009 20:22 IST

Ever had the urge to speed skate down a bobsled track?

Each winter 100,000 spectators cram the steep, 400-year-old center of Quebec City to witness four athletes do just that during the bruising Red Bull Crashed Ice race.

The full-contact spectacle, a combination of downhill skiing, roller derby and hockey, has no rules. Heavily padded racers lace up their skates and barrel down the icy track as it winds through the old town. The winner gets $5,000, plus bragging rights during the all-night party that consumes the city that night.

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The race, along with its posh old-world style hotels, gourmet restaurants and a wild nightlife, helps make Canada's Quebec City the planet's hottest winter destination.

Forbes teamed up with the Travel Channel to create a list of the world's Icy Hot Spots. Quebec City and 10 other famous frozen venues will be featured on an episode of Forbes Luxe 11, which debuts on the Travel Channel and Travel Channel HD on Saturday, November 21 at 10 p.m. ET.

For a more traditional Quebec City experience, travelers stay at the venerable Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. Crowning a bluff in the heart of the city, the hotel offers luxurious rooms, sweeping views, a world famous Martini bar and fine dining, including the Le Champlain restaurant.

Also featured in the episode of Forbes Luxe 11 is Park City, Utah, where it's nearly impossible to get a reservation in January as Hollywood takes over the ski town for the Sundance Film Festival.

During Sundance, Park City, which features world-class art galleries, classic saloons and great restaurants, hosts 50,000 visitors from the entertainment industry--including a slew of celebrities--squeezing into the town's 12 movie theaters to view the year's most anticipated independent films.

For a truly icy experience there is Sweden's Icehotel. Located 200 miles above the Arctic Circle, the hotel is made entirely of ice. Every spring the hotel melts to the ground and is rebuilt every winter.

Visitors travel from the airport to Icehotel by snowmobile or dogsled. The hotel features Ice rooms, Snow rooms, plus $800-a-night Art suites, which are hand carved by local artisans. Guests sleep on slabs of ice covered in moose fur.

For a cold drink in a city setting, check out London's Absolut Icebar. This meat locker of a pub is kept at 20 degrees Fahrenheit and features a bar and drinking glasses made of ice. Patrons are loaned capes and gloves to keep warm--and to prevent their body heat from melting the furniture.

Other icy hot spots featured in the show include the winter sport Mecca of Jackson Hole, Wyo., Iceland's Blue Lagoon and Switzerland's most scenic train ride, the Glacier Express.