This week long competition is definitely a world class event.  With anywhere from 100-150 entries, created by renowned ice artists, and ice carving teams from all over the United States and around the world.  Somehow this stellar event has escaped the media's eye, so if you want to see this celebration of art and artisan you'll have to visit Fairbanks.  

Beauty and the Beast

A cowgirl riding a catfish

A gladiator battling a lion

In typical Fairbanksan style, the entire community is involved in this event from beginning to end.
Ice Alaska's opening salvo begins in downtown Fairbanks about four weeks prior to the actual event, when many of the City's businesses and locals (Called Ice Angels) help to financially sponsor this event. In return for their generous donations they recieve these beautiful one of a kind custom ice sculptures either highlighting their business or as some special adornment like the one on this site's opening page.

In talking competitors at the event, I was told that the ice local to Fairbanks Alaska is like no other ice used in ice carving competitions around the world.  They said not only is this ice more beautiful with its natural blue-green coloration, but that it was also much stronger than conventional white ice as well, making much easier to work with. Allowing then the create far more intricate designs with horizontal elesments that just aren't possible elsewhere.  

The Alien Queen
A woman and butterfly riding a Giraffe
An ice skater

Keep in mind that most of the carvings that you see on this page with exception of the Centaur and Female warrior, are part of the single block ice carving contest.  I wish these photo's were a little better, so that you could see the level of detail in these sculptures.  For example the giraffe has its spots carved into the ice, and the cowgirl's lasso carved out of ice.  They can carve this ice as thing as glass making pages in a book with writing on it, or whittle it down to the diameter of a pencil,  If I hadn't seen it myself I wouldn't have ever beleived that any of this was possible with the medium of ice.
Another thing is that every sculpture also has highly ornamental custom sculpted railings around them. For example the alien queen's railings are it's tail and stinger, another was had uprights with balls on top and round railings spanning the uprights, another was knee high flames.  

This is how big a single block of ice is before an ice artist begins 

On page two you'll find more photos, with some of the ice artists at in action.

To continue Your Virtual Tour of Ice Alaska

Click on the Image above