Two weekends of ice-carving competition at Lake Louise leaves lakeshore scattered

Ice carvers from around the world travelled to the majestic Canadian Rockies to participate in the Ice Magic Festival, which takes place annually at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

 The theme for this year’s contest was “Wordplay: Where language comes out to play.”

The 12 teams of carvers got down to work for the first weekend of competition, which started on Jan. 20 and worked diligently, crafting their works of art for the final weekend of competition that ended Jan.29.

Teams came from as far away as Russia and the Netherlands, but the majority of the ice artists hailed from Canada and the United States. Participants competed for the First Place prize of $3000 and there were other awards given out for People’s Choice, Carver’s Choice and Fairmont’s Choice.

Stuart Back, director of in-resorts services for Banff Lake Louise Tourism, said this year the festival saw an influx in attendance. Jaedin Chiu, 4, of Calgary hams it up for his dad’s camera in front of ‘Cold Feet’, which was the result of some serious carving talent courtesy of Team Crushed Ice, Canada.
Photo by: Taryn Hajnrych

“We grew the event to two weekends this year in response to the number of people who had wanted to come out last year,” said Back.

“It’s the 18th year of the event and it just continues to grow,” he said. “It was a very positive response from our regional market in the Bow Valley in particular, but also from international visitors that travel a long way to attend.”

Though the competition has come to a close, visitors to the Lake Louise area can still enjoy the carvings as long as weather permits. The frigid works of winter art are on display on the lakefront of The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

The award-winning carvings of onward marching warriors, looming dinosaurs and intricate sunburst can be seen late into the evening thanks to spotlights keeping the statues lit up.

thajnrych@cjournal.ca