of ice carvings from the 2008 Winterlude Festival.
Enter Confederation Park in Ottawa, Ontario, at night during the
city's Winterlude Festival* and you will find yourself in a
magical world of crystal clear sculptures all lit by colored
lights. They possess a quiet beauty in the dark night.
It's a much different scene during the day when the ice sculptures
are being created. That's when the chain saws are screaming,
chisels are hacking and grinders eat away at oversized blocks
of ice. Carvers, working steadily to finalize their creations
before the competition ends, dress in thick layers to keep warm.
They wear chaps and ballistic gloves to keep their limbs safe
and sport eye protection against the flying ice chips.
Ted Hayes and Tyler, his younger brother and business
partner, of London, Ontario, have participated in about 100 international snow-
and ice-carving competitions over the last 27 years. While snow
sculptors typically erect scaffolding to work on snow blocks
as large as 10'x10', ice carvers work with ice blocks that are
only 40"x20"x10". However, each one weighs about
265 pounds. Given the choice between snow sculpting or ice sculpting,
Mr. Hayes says he prefers ice, hands down. "It takes a
lot longer to do a snow sculpture. They are huge"
he said. "[Using ice] we can create a piece in a day,
whereas in snow, it will take three days to create a piece."
also finds ice sculptures to be more aesthetically appealing,
especially when viewed at night. "I like the ice, it's
like crystal. Usually you backlight them when they are on display,"
he explained. "You can change [the appearance of] a sculpture
by moving the lights."
example of a snow sculpture from the 2008 Winterlude Festival.
Winterlude Festival is an annual February event, where dozens
of international ice carvers compete. The top two Canadian carvers
of 2009 have been invited to create their winning pieces at the
Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010.