Fairbanks: Ice Carvers make their mark at Ice Alaska

In Alaska Travelgram by scott

The world on ice.

Special Correspondent Juno Kim went to Fairbanks–and visited the Ice Alaska exhibit. Here is her report. –Scott

When I hear the word ‘ice sculpture’ I think of the ice sculpture that’s always standing in an awkward place in weddings or banquets that’s the shape of a swan. Maybe having an ice sculpture at an event signified a certain level of wealth or success. So when I heard about the ice sculptures in Fairbanks, I kind of pictured something similar. But I was wrong. 

Frozen Yoda.

This March, I got to see the full exhibit of Ice Alaska this winter and completely changed my image of ice sculptures. Although it was 10-20 degrees below freezing it was totally worth it. 

Aladdin and the Genie.

World Ice Art Championship, also known as Ice Alaska, is an annual ice sculpting competition in Fairbanks, Alaska. Each year sculptors from around the world travel to Fairbanks to compete in the most challenging and prestigious ice sculpting competition in the world. 

Ice Alaska is so interesting it’s worth visiting twice, once during the day and once at night. The organizers know this of course, so they grant you same-day access in the evening (don’t forget to ask for a wristband!). I’ve been to both during the day and night, but I have to say, it’s a lot more enjoyable at night with all the ice sculptures light up in different colors. 

(Plan on spending the night, so you can get Juno’s day-and-night experience. Fountainhead Hotels, including the Wedgewood Resort, has a 10-percent-off special. CLICK THROUGH and ask for the “Ice Art Special.” This is a last-minute deal, since the Ice Alaska exhibit is only open through Mar. 31. –Scott)

Slip-n-Slide, Fairbanks-style.

It’s like visiting a small village made with ice blocks. Right after the ticket booth, there are many functioning garden games made with ice, such as a ping pong table, shuffleboard, mini-golf, and cornhole. There are also many slides that you can enjoy depending on your comfort level. I went on the easiest one but it was still quite fun! Walk past a hallway made with ice and into the woods. It’s actually quite magical. The big block ice arts are through the forest. It’s astonishing to see the precise expression they can create using nothing but ice. 

Sea turtles.

Here are a few photos from Ice Alaska 2021 (at night of course). One side note, I heard the exhibit this year is a bit different than other years because international artists couldn’t travel due to COVID-19. But to me, it was still an amazing experience. 

Lynx on the move.

 My favorite was “Aladdin and Genie”. Which one is yours? 

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