Unlike other competitions this one is also open to the general public.  So that for around 30 dollars you too can test out you artistic prowess and bang away on a block of ice.  And while I personally didn't participate, dozens of other first timers did -- some of which had quite spectacular results.  It's actually quite an amazing thing to stand by and watch these amateurs and professionals as they work away on these huge blocks of ice.  

Ice Alaska's entrance 
The cow girl on the Catfish
Michael Angelo carving David

The tools of the trade are also quite interesting in this sport. They consist of homemade wood chisels mounted on broom handles. A small board with dozens of nails hammered in it which is used like a rasp file to roughen the surface between two blocks of ice before being joined with a little water and snow. A chain saw. A small hand hatchet.  And the biggie, a heat gun to give the completed ice sculpture a polished finish.  

 The posts and lintels are 10' tall 
 A piece of abstract art
The Gateway of Illusion 

Ice Alaska takes place in the beginning of March.  And even though the temperatures are well below freezing, any were between 20 above zero to 20 below zero, the sun is so intense that the ice sculptures shrivel a little every day.  That's why you see all those black plastic tarps in the background.   And then once the sculptures are completed and the tarps removed. Then within a week or two I'm sad to say all of this is gone until the following year.
Though in downtown Fairbanks on second avenue they do have an Ice Museum that is open year round. So if you do happen to drop on by during the summer, you can still see some exquisite ice carvings.  

Scotch on the Rocks
A giant block plane
This is an entire bar complete with with patrons and libations
A little girl standing on a stool playing the harp

The people who run this event are a class operation and quite friendly to boot.  If you are unable to make it to Ice Alaska (Like 98% of Americans) they also sell some merchandise like ball caps, T-shirts, and of course video tapes recounting this years ice festival.
The taped events begin with cutting the blocks of ice out of a local pond, the initial set up of the site, the arrival of the carvers, shots of them working, shots of their final product both in daylight and my personal favorite the night show where the ice is illuminated by colored lights.  The tapes also include the awards ceremony and the final closing ceremony.  

Another view of the giraffe 
A full view of Beauty and the Beast
Here you can see the scale model they're working from 
A life size ice carousel

Leave to me to save the best for last.  Page three has some of my first photos from Ice Alaska 2000 as well as an interview with one of the Ice Artists.


To continue Your Virtual Tour in Ice Art 2000

Ice Art 2000

Click on the Image above


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