I’ve been teasing you this past week with re-blogs from a trip Peggy and I made to Alaska three years ago. Today marks the start of a short series on the trip we just completed. Welcome aboard!
We joined our son Tony, his wife Cammie, and three of our grandkids: 7-year old Connor, 5-year old Chris, and 3-year old Cooper. (That was a trip within itself— grin.) Tony flies helicopter rescue missions for the Coast Guard out of Kodiak, Alaska. If you ever watched the Weather Channel series, Coast Guard Alaska, you have an idea of the type of work he does.
We began our adventure at the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous where the sled dog races caught my attention. I have never seen dogs so eager to run. Even my old Basset Hound Socrates woofing in slow pursuit of a fast rabbit failed to show such enthusiasm. (I used to tell Soc that the only chance he had of catching a rabbit was if it were rolling around on the ground laughing so hard it couldn’t get up.)
We also watched firemen, college students and a group of Mormons get in the spirit of racing— but instead of hauling sleds, they were hauling outhouses. And yes, someone had to sit on the pot. An Alaskan style parade we viewed had so many princesses that the announcer joked that anyone with a tiara could join. Peggy and Cammie practiced their princess waves.
Our 12-hour trip from Anchorage to Fairbanks on the Alaska Railroad was a highlight. We had a beautiful day with views of Mt. Denali, moose, and a pair of wolves. The route has to be one of the most scenic train trips in the world and the engineer stopped frequently to allow passengers an opportunity to enjoy the view. (Thus the 12 hours.)
Equally impressive, but in a different way, were the 2016 Word Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks.
I am going to start with the ice carving competition simply because it was so spectacular. We really had no idea what to expect. There are both single block and multi block contests. What we saw was the single block contest with the blocks cut out of a local lake. Each block measured 3 by 8 by 5 feet and weighed approximately five tons. Teams of two people were given 60 hours to complete their masterpieces. A variety of tools were used in the process ranging from specialized chain saws to chisels. Most sculptures started with several parts (legs for example), all of which were ‘glued’ together using an icy slush. It isn’t unusual for an art piece to fall apart. Imagine that after 60 hours of work! I heard one artist comment to another, “You owe me a dollar. It’s still standing.”
We made two trips out to the Fairbank’s Ice Park. (There is a lot going on there besides the contest. A dozen or so ice slides kept the boys and Peggy busy. Even Grandpa was brow-beaten into two bumpy rides, one on his butt and one on his belly.) On our first trip to the park, we watched the competitors as they scrambled to complete their work. That night we returned to view the finished works of art when the actual judging was taking place. While the sculptures are normally lit up by colored lights, only white light is allowed during judging. As I made my way through the exhibition, I could understand why. Given the number of truly impressive ice sculptures, I am going to do two or three posts on the competition. Let me know your favorites.
46 thoughts on “The Spectacular 2016 World Ice Art Championships … The Alaska Series”
Great post 🙂
Thanks. 🙂 –Curt
Wow! They are magnificent. I like Concentration and North wind the most.
It looks like everyone had a jolly good time 🙂
Two of my favorites as well, Timi. And yes, we were having a good time. –Curt
Very unique, Cindy. –Curt
Oh wow, these are gorgeous. I love them all, but that last one is really amazing. How perfect: an ice sculpture show in Alaska!
The North Wind was beautiful, Carrie. I took several photos of it and then debated over which ones I would post. 🙂 As for the cold, Anchorage seemed positively balmy from what I remembered when I lived there. Global warming… Fairbanks was below zero but not the -35 I experienced. –Curt
Wow! Love the Jellyfish Hunter! Great post, Curt.
Thanks Kelly. I was blown away by the ice sculptures. There will be more coming… –Curt
Your ice sculpture photos turned out so well!! Thank you for doing such a great job of documenting the trip!
What fun we had Cammie… and so many different experiences in a short period of time. My thanks to you, Tony, Connor, Chris and Cooper. –Curt
Pretty amazing, eh. 🙂
Curt, the intricate detail in these sculptures are astonishing. Stunning. So sheer and delicate looking but they obviously remain standing. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to the reading about Luke Skywalker and the other sled dogs.
It is a totally different art form. I will write a bit about the artists in my next blog, Annika. As for the sled dogs, I was truly impressed with how much joy they take in their work. –Curt
Those are so impressive and the work to produce something which is transient but so difficult – very inspiring to see.
I agree, Chas. I mentioned to another blogger that it reminds me of the art at Burning Man that burns. Interesting contrast between the hot desert and the cold north, both producing beautiful, transient art. –Curt
These are absolutely gorgeous! I love the funky style of some of them & you certainly saved the best one for last!
Glad you stopped by and thanks for following. The art reminds me of the art burned at Burning Man (which I also blog about): beautiful but temporary. One burns and the other melts. North Wind was beautiful and seems to be a favorite of several folks who follow my blog. –Curt
You’re quite welcome. I have always been interested in the whole Burning Man festivities. It’s a bucket list thing. 😉
And I might add, well worth it. 🙂 –Curt
Seems like you’ve gone from the sublime to the ridiculous – Burning Man to Ice Art. No lasting art at either 😉 Some very impressive art here too – my favourite so far is Stuck Up. Did anyone take a snap of you on those slides?
There is one slide photo which may see the light of day. (Grin) Peggy couldn’t make the camera work for my belly slide, however. Just as well. Stuck Up had a unique look… humorous during the day and etherial at night. –Curt
Maybe its because of my location, and the number of jellyfish I see, but I love the jellyfish hunter. It’s by far my favorite. For one thing, it’s amazing to me that the sculptor could capture the diaphanous tentacles frozen in time, as it were.
It’s wonderful to see them lit, too. There are details that emerge that just couldn’t be seen in bright sunlight.
And the skin of the hunter with its unique markings… The next night, which I didn’t get to see, colored lights were added. I wish I could have compared the day, with the white lights, with the colored lights, Linda. I’ve seen photos, however, and I think I prefer the white lights. I will show several sculptures in colored lights that weren’t part of the competition. –Curt
Wow. What beauty. I love the ones that combine clear ice and opaque. Great photos.
I think it is one of the categories they are judged on, Susan. Thanks. –Curt
They are all so beautiful. I liked the cello sculpture ‘a beautiful noise,’ the best.
Wasn’t it unique? You could almost hear the sound. –Curt
Wanted to add that I lost your second comment Gerard, but not before I read it. The ice comes out of a lake, so it is natural. And wasn’t that circle/ball in the Beginning of Time spectacular… –Curt
Spectacular! I couldn’t choose just one favorite, though the first one “Concentration” would come in close. You have a beautiful family Curt.
Thanks Katy. The artists are among the best in the world. And Concentration won first in the realistic category. We are lucky on our family. 🙂 –Curt
I’m sitting here in steaming hot Australia with my mouth agape at the beauty of what these artists have created out of ice.
Hi Yvonne. Welcome to my blog! I imagine it is a little cooler in Fairbanks up near the Arctic Circle. I am pretty much agape at the ice art myself. Beautiful stuff. –Curt
Wow! Spectacular indeed. The train ride looks pretty sweet too.
I’ve got a post coming on the train ride as well Alison. I spent 12 hours staring out the windows! –Curt
I think the winner was the well-chosen, with a beautiful clean line and an inner tension.
Spoken like the artist you are, Hillary. 🙂 –Curt
Wow really cool! ; ) What a neat art form.
Cool is a good word to describe ice sculpture… 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. –Curt
Love “Concentration” and “North Wind.” Great art but so fleeting. What happens to these creations? I guess just photos remain, but it seems sorta sad in a way. Really nice post, Curt.
Thanks Rusha. The message of the temporary art, I feel, is similar to that of Burning Man. Life is short. Enjoy it while you can. Live in the present. Photos allow us to cheat a bit, however. 🙂 –Curt
Just wish I were talented enough to create anything — even for the moment!
Spectacular! I am rather impressed with your daytime and nighttime photos here. The daylight photos of ice sculptures must have been tricky. My fave of this group is Jellyfish Hunter. But I can’t get over the clear glass limbs of Concentration.
It was a very different world between the day and night, Crystal. Your comments encouraged me to go back and look at the blogs again. I am glad I did. —Curt