Fairbanks' Far North locale gives artists the opportunity to create ethereal sculptures out of crystal-clear ice. Residents and visitors alike can watch incredible artworks emerge from locally harvested enormous blocks of “Arctic Diamond” ice that can weigh up to two tons. The sculptures never cease to amaze the most seasoned viewer and at their best rival those wrought from stone. In fact, with so many ice art venues and events to explore, we’ve summarized them all in this handy how-to guide for viewing ice sculptures in Fairbanks.


#1 - World Ice Art Championships

a man in a parka sculpting a dragon from ice

The World Ice Art Championships is celebrating its 29th year hosting one of the largest annual ice art competitions and exhibitions worldwide. The extraordinary ice art created during the competition challenges the mind and inspires the imagination. This year over 80 ice artists are participating with a significant international contingent counting artists from faraway places like Monaco, the Netherlands, China, Russia and Spain.

This remarkable ice event, hosted by Ice Alaska, Inc. since its inception, has found a new home at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds on College Road. The fairgrounds offer plenty of space, excellent infrastructure and Fairbanks food trucks. The numerous interactive ice attractions as well as ongoing competitions including the one-person, two-person and multi-block classics will result in over 100 ice sculptures in all. Fanciful dragons, sea creatures, ice mazes, spinning pods and more delight event-goers during this enticing annual event.

If you go:

  • What: World Ice Art Championships presented by Ice Alaska
  • When: Feb 14, 2019 – Mar 31, 2019
  • Hours: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm Daily
  • Where: Tanana Valley Fairgrounds, 1800 College Rd
  • More Information: call (833) 442-3278, or find information, videos and event pictures at www.icealaska.com

 


#2 - Fairbanks Ice Park International Ice Art Exhibition and Kid’s Park

a boy and girl sledding on a mega ice slide

According to park owner Dick Brickley, this attraction celebrates Fairbanks’ status as the “Ice Sculpting Capital of the World.” It includes kid-friendly mega slides, mazes, houses, a playground and spinners all made from ice harvested from O’Grady Pond next to the park. Concessions and food vendors are also on site. Visitors can observe world-class ice sculptors from Japan, Russia, China and Mongolia creating their art in the International Ice Art Exhibition that contains more than 90 compositions on display. Beginning March 10th you can drive your own vehicle into the park from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm daily.

If you go:

  • What: International Ice Art Exhibition and Kid’s Park
  • When: Feb 1, 2019 – Mar 31, 2019
  • Hours: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm Daily
  • Where: George Horner Ice Park, 3570 Phillips Field Rd
  • More Information: call (907) 451-8250, or find information and event pictures at www.fairbanksice.wixsite.com/icepark

 


#3 - Aurora Ice Museum

Chena Ice Museum

This is another indoor experience, but the Aurora Ice Museum at Chena Hot Springs operates year-round. It’s the world’s largest ice environment created from more than 1,000 tons of ice and snow. It was completed in 2005 and has remained 25 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 4 Celsius) ever since, and parkas are included with admission. Many of the sculptures have endured over the years, but local artists Steve and Heather Brice create new pieces to change out the décor as needed. The entire space is lit in vivid colors that highlight the amazing jousting knights, chandeliers and distinctive orbs that contain flowers and other extraordinary objects. For an extra fee, adults 21 and older can enjoy an appletini served in their own “glass” made entirely of ice.

 

If you go:

  • What: Aurora Ice Museum
  • When: Year-round
  • Hours: Scheduled tours 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm Daily
  • Where: Chena Hot Spring Resort, 56.5 Chena Hot Springs Rd. (end of the road)
  • More Information: call (907) 451-8104, or find information, videos and pictures at www.chenahotsprings.com/icemuseum

#4 - Sculptures around town

ice sculpture of an angel and small child

From November through March it’s hard not to notice ice sculptures on many street corners and in front of buildings and landmarks all over Fairbanks and the surrounding area. For some locations, it’s an annual tradition to commission an ice carver to create a beautiful if only temporary work of art at their place of business. For others, it may be for a special event or festival that calls for an iconic figurine to signify a celebration in progress.

 


#5 - Fairbanks Ice Museum

Located in the Historic Lacey Street Theater ina boy sledding down an colorfully lighted ice slide Downtown Fairbanks, this museum is only open during the summer. It includes larger than life ice sculptures on display in a refrigerated chamber. Jackets are provided so visitors can walk in and take pictures. There’s even an indoor ice slide for the young and young at heart. Featured artists work on sculptures and demonstrate their process with live narration. The comfortable seating area is a great place to cool off on a hot summer day.

If you go:

  • What: Fairbanks Ice Museum
  • When: May to September
  • Hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm Daily
  • Where: 500 Second Ave
  • More Information: call (907) 421-8222, for exact opening and closing dates find information and pictures at www.fairbanksice.wixsite.com/icemuseum

 


#6 - Christmas in Ice

Christmas In Ice - North Pole, Alaska

This grand event would make Santa proud. Located in North Pole, Christmas in Ice features ice sculpting competitions, a playground made out of ice as well as a variety of holiday-themed festivities. This annual event takes place from late November through early January. There is a youth ice carving competition in addition to adult single block and multi-block competitions. Special events include a “Community Picnic Under the Stars” and “Military Appreciation Day.” For kids, there's Elf’s Icy Playground with 100-foot ice slides, mazes and twirlers. Visitors are encouraged to have as much fun as possible on the ice, and concessions and gifts are available in a warm, cozy indoor reception area. Santa is usually there on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, and visitors can enjoy hot cocoa and fireworks on these two holidays. 

If you go:

  • What: Christmas in Ice
  • When: Late November to early January
  • Hours: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm Daily
  • Where: 101 St. Nicholas Dr, North Pole, Alaska
  • More Information: call (907) 590-2522, or find information, videos and event pictures at www.christmasinice.org

Whatever the occasion, locals and visitors alike benefit from a location where ice art is not only remarkable but commonplace!