Get Ready for Those Icy Competitions
By Amy Lignor
You think the Super Bowl will be a competition? You thought the World Series was? Well…book your airline tickets now, people, because the coolest, most awesome, most gritty competitions are soon to begin. When the weather outside turns frightful, there are those who break out their anvils, knives, hatchets…you name it (and, no, we are not talking about a horror movie, here). These tools are brought out by some of the most amazing architects, builders, artists and carvers from across the world. Men and women who can look at a block of ice and see everything from Harry Potter and his gang to Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers lying inside, just waiting to be freed from their frozen home.
One of the greatest things about Ice Art competitions is the fact that no two events, no two years, will ever be the same. People think up designs all year long so that they can catch the most significant moments, characters and dreams that capture the time we’re living in. And here are the ones you do NOT want to miss.
Still rated number one is Ice Alaska World Ice Art Championships (AKA: BP World Ice). It has been over twenty years that Fairbanks has played host to the world’s largest group of competitors from all around the world. This “carving event” lasts over 130 hours, and draws almost 50,000 people to see the amazing designs in categories that range from single block to youth competitions.
In China, you may not think to head to an ice competition, but the Harbin Ice Festival held in Harbin, China, proves you wrong. This event is held in one of the coldest places in the world – a very mountainous area that draws people in January (brrr) to see what carvers and artists can come up with out of gigantic blocks of ice that are extracted from the Songhua River. You are talking skyscrapers, ice castles – some of the most wondrous wonderlands ever created. And if the carving is not enough for you, you and the family can also join in with the polar plunge and ice boxing competitions. Sounds more like you will be plunging with the polar bears in those temps.
Oh, Canada! In Banff, Canada, held in the Banff National Park located in the Canadian Rockies, the Ice Magic Festival comes alive. This is set within SnowDays, which is a month-long festival, with the carving competition giving two-person teams exactly thirty-four hours to create the most amazing looks they can possibly create from 300 pound blocks of ice. They even bring forth “speed carving,” which may just be fast enough to warm the competitors up just a tad.
If you want to head to London, England and wish the Queen “Happy Holidays,” you can stop by the London Ice Sculpting Festival while you’re there. Held for three days at Canary Wharf, sculptors come together, as well as amateurs and fans who wish to get in on the ice carving classes, Ice-Chess, and witness the mesmerizing Ice Graffiti Wall.
Can’t forget about Russia. The Perm International Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival plays home to the “Ice, Snow, and Fire” competition, which you will remember forever. In Gorky Amusement Park, this festival involves both ice and snow sculptures.
And one that many have already heard of is in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, where Sweden’s famous and the world’s largest, Ice Hotel is sculpted each year from blocks extracted from the Torne, River.
What is the best? Well…that is up to the visitors. But one of the most memorable is held right in the good, old U.S. of A. on a stomping ground that most have heard of before. In fact, this area plays home to some truly beloved Clydesdales. In 2016, in Breckenridge, Colorado, the Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships, followed by Snow Sculpture Viewing Week, will be held. Take some time to view this one on the Internet, folks. You will see the most incredible works of art. One became the winner for Team Lithuania last year: a stunning depiction of Noah’s Ark that floated on clouds above a mighty downpour. This mammoth beauty took sixty-five hours to create using only hand tools. Sculptures remain on display at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge until Sunday, Feb. 8 (weather permitting). Other creations included Mother Nature summoning the power of the eagle’s wings; and a wave crashing against a boat that stood for the strength of nature and respect for the environment.
There is no end to the beauty these ice sculptors create. Bringing to life true strength and power that touches on this world’s issues. So get the tickets and buy those heavy jackets…you’ll need them!
Source: Baret News