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.
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.
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.
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 roads turn them into dangerous ice roads.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 to above freezing temperatures than the big multi block sculptures outside.
Pumps, coat and lifestyle
Let me give you a tour of the fashion and lifestyle related multi block sculptures.
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 cold feet 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 tuffs there like everyone else in Alaska. Some even wear them in their wedding photos.You must see these awesome shoes I saw here. #shoelove Click To Tweet
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. 😉
I just found the perfect closet space efficient winter coat here. #AlaskaTravel #fashion Click To Tweet
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
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.
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?
Did you know that March is the best time to see the aurora? Of course, you will have to dress in layers to to avoid discomfort when watching the aurora display.
Ice sculpture are a big thing in Fairbanks. They even build one of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor Walker and Mallott for their inaugural ball!
Which ice sculpture did you like the best? I am curious.
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Photos: G. Kramm
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