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Ice Alaska sculptors brave the cold to create competitive compositions

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 4:09 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On Monday, February 15th, sculptors for the 2021 World Ice Art Championships at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds began carving their submissions for competition.

Longtime competiter Dean DeMarais is competing in the multi-block competition, using 9 blocks for his entry.

He said it takes dedication to be a good ice sculptor. “It get kind of grueling out here, long cold days, lonely nights, and you’ve got to enjoy the people you’re around. You’ve got to enjoy the work you’re doing.”

First-time competitor Eva Blockstein said she learned about the Championships while in a snow-sculpting class at Pioneer Park. “I just like how everyone here is super welcoming. They were like, didn’t care that we don’t know what we’re doing. They just wanted us to be involved, and they’ve been really encouraging and teaching us what to do.”

Blockstein’s co-sculptor Noah Boone said he enjoys the subtractive aspect of ice sculpting. “If you cut something off, you can’t really undo it.”

According to Sculptor Support Office Coordinator Joan Foote, the number of competitors has been more than halved this year due to COVID-19, with international sculptors particularly affected. “Most of them have not been able to come because of regulations, and all the incoming people, of course, have to take their test before they enter Alaska.

Foote said the ice blocks, some of which are the size of a refrigerator, are harvested from a gravel pit east of town. But ice isn’t the only canvas this year. “This year we have a lot of snow carvings, which is... last year we had one. They’re exhibits, and this year we have many more.”

More information about the event can be found here.

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