Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

Ice Alaska

    

Ice sculpture "Olympic Flame." Photo: Naomi Whitty

Come late February, many of us may be tiring of our winter landscapes. But up in Fairbanks where spring traditionally is still a ways off, folks lean into the season with a dazzling festival honoring winter’s purest, most abundant yield:  ice.  

Ice Alaska features an international ice-carving competition and it runs for about a month. Even if you’re nowhere near Fairbanks, you can still follow the goings-on via the official Web site: http://www.icealaska.com. View webcam coverage of the sculptors working on their blocks of “Arctic Diamonds,” the clear, hard ice recovered from O’Grady pond, which lies just beyond the festival site. (Talk about your coal to Newcastle: in the competition’s infancy, ice was brought from Seattle!)  

Fairbanks colleague Naomi Whitty took the above picture on a visit a week or so ago to the ice park, when the single-block competitors were still carving their sculptures. Here’s the finished piece, awash in the colored lights that make night-time visits to the park extra special.  

Olympic Flame, by Aaron Costic. Photo: Rhonda Konicki and Karen Clautice

In addition to the ice-carving festival, Ice Alaska sports a children’s park constructed entirely of ice.  But that’s another story.