Artic Express opens Sioux Falls storefront, adding magical Santa experience to holiday photo shoots

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — For the past four years, a Sioux Falls photographer has been taking magical Christmas photos for area families. But as the Artic Express has grown in popularity, this years’ experience is bigger than ever.

The corner space next to Stensland’s near 41st and Kiwanis has been transformed into the ultimate Christmas experience.

“I’ve always loved the movie The Polar Express, so I dress up as the conductor, it’s a good fit to keep this train on the move,” Photographer Christopher Reistroffer said.

Reistroffer takes on the role of the conductor from the Polar Express, with several other key Christmas characters on the crew to enhance kids experience, something even two teen boys from McCrossan Boys Ranch appreciated during their promo shoot.

“When families come in the door they’re greeted by buddy the elf, plays the naughty nice list, asks if they have a letter for Santa, if they’ve been good or naughty,” Reistroffer said.

The magic continues as they head into the studio space and snap a few photos before the main event arrives.

“All of a sudden Santa comes out and the kids are on a totally different level; they take a handful of pictures with Santa for a few minutes,” Reistroffer said.

Then Santa brings out his sack and showers the kids with gifts, all arranged before the kids ever arrive at the studio.

“Parents get to team up with me and my team to make Christmas themed art with beautiful little people that are just in awe of the magic,” Reistroffer said.

And while it’s a lot to orchestrate, Reistroffer, his staff and clients say capturing this extravagant Christmas experience created cherished memories that last a lifetime.

“It so beautiful. Last year we had a little girl on Santa’s lap, opening her presents on Santa’s lap, snow was falling, this little girl shouts, how did Santa know that I wanted this! I look over to this little girl’s mom with tears rolling down her cheeks and I’m just like yes, yes, this is what we came for,” Reistroffer said.

The Artic Express runs every weekend through the second or third weekend in December. Appointments are required. You can contact “The Conductor” Christopher Reistroffer to schedule an appointment or learn more at 605-929-3730, email

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