Winter temperatures in the region might occasionally seem daunting but because it is a still, dry cold the weather is quite manageable. Dressing properly allows visitors to engage in fantastic activities like chasing the captivating light of the aurora borealis, viewing larger-than-life outdoor ice sculptures or experiencing the exhilarating sport of dog mushing. Additionally, sports like skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating are all within reach even if the temperature is below zero.
In Fairbanks, ice art is not only remarkable but commonplace during winter months. Locals and visitors alike enjoy a multitude of impressive ice sculptures around the community and in February and March, both the World Ice Art Championships and the International Ice Art Classic spring to life.
Talented artists from all over the world come to Fairbanks to use a one-ton block of ice as a crystal clear, 3-dimensional canvas. The ice is actually harvested from local ponds and because the water is so pure and the winter temperatures so cold, the ice has a slight glacial blue tint. It is so clear that a person can read a newspaper through a four-foot block of ice! The sculptors say that Fairbanks ice is the best ice in the world for their art. Because of its translucent quality, it is known globally by carvers as “Arctic Diamond.”
Ice art is awe-inspiring, but it can also be interactive. The Ice Art Championships and the Ice Art Classic all find creative and beautiful ways to have fun, like attending any children's playground, only the "equipment" is constructed entirely from ice! There are slides and rides for all ages, mazes and life-sized sculptures of animals, and characters to touch and climb on. Climb atop a polar bear, slide down a dragon’s neck or crawl through a giant maze.
Ice art sculptures in Fairbanks rival those wrought in stone and never cease to capture both the mind and the imagination.
Feb 15–Mar 31
Every year between mid-February and the end of March, Fairbanks is abuzz with enthusiasm for ICE! A tradition that began with the early celebrations of spring that involved sculpting thrones of ice for the Winter Carnivals of the 1930s. The Ice Alaska organization is volunteer-driven and the annual event hosts over 100 ice artists representing nine countries and many states of the U.S. In past years, artists from 45 countries have competed in the Championships. The result is over 100 sculptures and exhibition pieces and ever-expanding playful ice attractions in the Kids Park. www.icealaska.org
Talk about a trip of a lifetime! The magnificent scenery. The breathtaking outdoors combined with warm and welcoming hospitality has made Fairbanks one of my most memorable winter adventures, anywhere in the world.