Ice shoes and outfits in the cold desert

Cutting the ice blocks

In March, a big event is the BP Ice Alaska Classics. No, it is not a hockey game competition sponsored by British Petrol despite BP is one of several sponsors. On the contrary, it is an ice sculpture art competition. In February, sculptors from all over the world meet to carve huge ice blocks. The ice blocks stem from a nearby pond. The harvesting crew cuts these ice blocks being on the ice of the pond with chainsaws. They mount the chainsaws in a custom skid for precise cutting. The blocks have to be identical for the multi-blog competitions. After cutting, the crew pulls the blogs out of the water. It helps that ice has a lower density than water and hence can swim.

#Alaskatravel ice sculpture raw material - a giant ice cube more
Demonstrating the size of a single ice block. You don’t want that cube of ice in your drink, do you?

The size of the blocks, of course, depends on the onset of freezing and weather, for which it varies among years. This year, blocks measured on average 30 inch (76 cm) thick with 22-24 inch (55-60 cm) of clear blue ice that the artists use.

#travel frozen pond for harvesting ice more
View over the pond where the ice is harvested


Sometimes blocks bear a surprise and have material inclusions like insects in amber. Such inclusions are due to debris that floated in the pond before freezing. Blocks that break, or are of low quality or are only partly usable due to inclusions end up in the Alaska Airlines Kids Ice Park section of the Ice Park. They serve to build several ice slides, an ice-skating rink, an ice cabin, kids train, and other fun stuff kids enjoy. The kids’ section is not part of the competition, but for the entertainment of the kids while the adults walk thru the exhibition section of the park.

#travel on the ice train thru Alaska
A train made of ice

Ice sculptures

The single blocks are located in a forest section. Unfortunately, it is too dark there to take photos during the day. At night, they are illuminated, but still hard to photograph. We did not wait until night fell because it started to drizzle and we feared that we would not get back home when it turns into rain. Rain falling on super-cooled road turn them into an ice road.

#Alaska sled dog team with ice dogs more
Mushing a team of ice dogs
Did you know that the Ice Dogs are a local professional ice hockey team? #trivia Click To Tweet

The fragile sculptures are in the forest for protection from sun light and wind. Their tiny and fragile surfaces make them more sensitive to sub-saturation and hence sublimation as well as above freezing temperatures than the big multi block sculptures outside.

#fashionover50 woman standing in an ice door with a Cole Haan shearling motorcycle coat, chevron scarf, Loft jeans, shearling booties and pom-pom hat (all own)
Standing in an ice door with a Cole Haan shearling motorcycle coat, chevron scarf, Loft jeans, shearling booties and pom pom hat (all own)

Pumps, coat and lifestyle

Let me give you a tour of the fashion and lifestyle related multi block sculptures.

#fashionover50 ice pumps, more ice sculptures at

Would you wear that? They are way too big! This Alaska spring shoe trend will already be history before April. 😉 However, wearing it now will lead to a cold foot within a minute. Did you know that there is a city in Alaska called Cold Foot? Don’t even think about it! They wear bunny boots and X-tra tuff there like everyone else in Alaska. Tweet your friend You must see these awesome shoes I saw here.

#travel fashion ice sculpture more at
“Wearing” an ice coat with fake fur and frozen hair

What about this long coat? Well made from about 99.99% H2O. 100% moth safe! It will not take up real estate in your closet unless you store your clothes in a freezer. 😉 Tweet your friend I just found the perfect closet space efficient winter coat here.

#travel Alaska Ice Classics Championship me waving from Cinderella's castle carved from ice
Me waving in style from Cinderella’s Castle

Which girl never dreamed of having a new gown and new shoes every night when there is a ball? Welcome to Cinderella’s Castle! <3

#AlaskaLifestyle woman in front of an igloo
Me coming out of an igloo with polar bear

Speaking of lifestyle this post would be incomplete without wildlife and an igloo. No, Alaskans don’t live in igloos, but when having to camp outside in winter, one better knows where to find a cabin or how to build a snow shelter. And yes, when you leave the house, you enter the food chain. While in the Fairbanks area there are no polar bears except for the Nanooks, there are black bears and grizzlies. Nanook means polar bear and is the nickname of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ athletic teams and the school’s mascot.

#travel fashion blogger Nicole taking a ride on an ice camel
Me riding on an ice camel

Now let’s take a ride thru the cold desert in time. Did you know that precipitation-wise Interior Alaska is a cold desert? A local student found a mammoth tooth on the way home from school about a decade ago. How do you like this mammoth?

#mammoth Nicole of High Latitude Style posing in outerwear in front of an ice carved mammoth
Mammoth ice sculpture with me on top

Which ice sculpture did you like the best? Let me know by email. I am curious.

You can find another great ice sculpture and a story on x-tra tuff boots at these links.

Get a subscription to High Latitude Style.

Photos: G. Kramm

© 2013-2019 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved