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Alaska Life

Our Alaska: Anchorage ice carving

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: July 6, 2016
  • Published January 19, 2012

Alaskans sure do like to carve things. Totem poles, turns on a snowboard, blocks of wood with a chainsaw. But perhaps the most delicate of carving mediums was beautifully on display in Anchorage's Town Square in January, when some of the world's best ice carvers created new works from 3,000 pound blocks of ice for the Crystal Gallery of Ice exhibit.

Pure, translucent ice at night is a beautiful thing, as this video, uploaded to Vimeo by Charles Baird, demonstrates. Using hand tools and power tools, scrapers, saws and buffers, sculptures of impressive detail begin to take shape despite the potential for one wrong move cracking the ice in a way that could ruin the entire piece.

If you missed the ice carving display in Alaska's largest city, there are other opportunities to see the technique in action elsewhere in Alaska. The biggest, the World Ice Art Championships, held in late February and early March in Fairbanks, features more than 70 teams carving in single and multi-block competitions. Fur Rondy in Anchorage also hosts an annual snow-sculpture competition, although last year's event was looking a little sad by the end of the two week display, as a bout of warm weather melted many of the sculptures' finer features.

Our Alaska takes a look at the people, places, activities and wildlife that make Alaska great. There's the Alaska that many people know from reality television, and then there's Our Alaska. If you have a video that puts the spotlight on the positive, educational or unique aspects of Alaska and its people, send links or submissions to ben(at)

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