Fun & Weird
Experiencing the Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks
My trip to see the Iditorad and Northern Lights was perfectly timed as it also overlapped with the BP World Ice Art Championships taking place in Fairbanks. Now if you are as uninformed as I was, you might be thinking “hmmmm…”
It didn’t sound exciting and it was only luck that I didn’t miss out on this unique event. When figuring out what to see with our limited time, we had narrowed it down to the Fairbanks Ice Park or the Ice Bar at the Aurora Ice Museum. As tempting as sipping a signature apple martini out of a glass carved from ice was, the reviews suggested the cheesy appeal might not be worth the 3 hour round trip drive, especially with world class carvings only 10 minutes away.
I didn’t know what to expect really. I was impressed by the carvings driving in and a little nonplussed by view immediately past the ticket booth. I also was not particularly excited about an outside toilet, even if it was heated.
The first thing we saw was the Kids Ice Park which featured cleverly carved ice slides and even a little house complete with ice throne.
Definitely cute. But then we headed for the woods to the Single Block entries. And immediately I had my mind blown. I was used to the occasional ice sculpture at receptions. I had no idea they could be this detailed or this beautiful.
After meandering through the wooded area we headed to the outskirts to watch some of the multi-block competitors in action.
If you have access to a sled or cardboard, definitely bring it along as they also have a giant ice slide for all ages that looked like a lot of fun, but not something I was going to attempt without a raft of some kind.
After two hours we were freezing, so headed back to the condo for a few hours before we returned to take it all in at night. The $15 daily admission includes unlimited re-entries so if you have the time it’s definitely worth visiting in daylight and twilight.
It is pretty spectacular at night with all the colored lights illuminating and reflecting off the sculptures.
And some of the single block carvings took on a whole new look in low light.
One of my favorites was the free range chickens entry which were more likely to be found throughout the park than in their enclosure.
Aaaand we got photo bombed by a little girl eager to ride the ice dogs when we tried posing in the sled.
But it was amazing, especially with the Northern Lights lighting up the horizon as we left. My pictures turned out pretty well but hardly do the sculptures justice.
An Ice Day was definitely had by all!
So glad we picked the Fairbanks Ice Park over the Ice Bar, though I’m sure I’ll check it out some day. I would say this is not to be missed if you’re in town. Just make sure you bundle up. Even at 20 degrees and bright sun, it was COLD!
More from this trip
The San Juan Airport Doesn’t Want You to Find the Hotel
Snow for the Iditarod
BBQ & Fat Birds in Anchorage
Seeing the Northern Lights in Alaska
Is Anchorage to Fairbanks One of the Most Scenic Flights Ever?
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