The History of Ice Sculpting


As much as we all enjoy the act of creating ice sculptures and participating in ice sculpting competitions around the world, how many times do we actually stop and think about what we’re doing? How many times have you wondered, who even thought of ice sculpting in the first place? As incredible as it is, it is sort of an unusual craft and we can’t help but wonder who the first person was to decide that ice was something that could be transformed into works of art.


The History of Ice Sculpting | Ice Crafters

Well in actuality, the history of ice sculpting isn’t entirely clear. According to an article from BBC Travel, the first instances of people actually using ice as a resource were recorded nearly 4,000 years ago in present-day Alaska, Canada and Greenland. Natives in these particular regions would gather ice and snow and use them to build houses, much like the igloos we see and/or hear about today. From there, the uses and benefits of ice became more heavily recognized throughout the world. For instance, in 600 BC, farmers in northwestern China would flood their fields, wait for the water to freeze and then harvest and store blocks of ice to help preserve seafood and other perishables.


From there, it wasn’t long before individuals came to realize that the ice could be sculpted into different shapes by using salts and various tools. Not only did fishermen in Chinese province, Heilongjiang start lanterns from ice in the 1600s, but in 1739 Russian empress Anna Ivanovna ordered the construction of the first known ice palace, to be used to special events.


Today, ice palaces are still being constructed in some of the largest ice sculpting competitions in the world, with some countries even creating ice towns for the entertainment of tourists and enthusiasts alike. It has grown in such popularity that ice sculpting competitions are even being featured in the Olympics, not as a sport, but as a Cultural Olympiad event.


So regardless of how muddled and unclear the history of ice sculpting may be, there’s no mistaking how far it has managed to come. At any rate, here at Ice Crafters, we couldn’t be happier with the progress!


(Posted by: Alice Connelly of Ice Crafters)


2014 BP World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska!


In its 25th year of hosting, Ice Alaska will soon welcome back the BP World Ice Art Championships and we highly encourage competitors to get their tools and equipment together as soon as possible! Taking place in Fairbanks, AK from February 24th-March 30th, the event is jam packed with all sorts of fantastic ice sculpting fun, so be sure to make your plans and get your affairs in order now if you haven’t already.


2014 BP World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska | Ice Crafters

While there is plenty more for adults and kids to do while out enjoying Ice Alaska, the Championship is hands down the main event. This year alone, Fairbanks will host over 100 ice artists from nine different countries and many areas around the United States. Will you be one of them? If not, that’s okay! Sometimes being a spectator can be the most fun, anyway!


The first big competition will take place from the first day on February 24th-26th and is recognized as the Single Block Classic World Ice Art Championships. Starting from 9am that Monday until 9pm on Wednesday, teams of one or two will be given an ice block measuring 5’ x 8’ x 3’ to create their sculpture. The results are usually incredible and the winner will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday February 27th at 8pm.


On March 1st-6th, spectators will be treated to the Multi-Block Classic, featuring teams of two to four sculptors who are given 10 ice blocks measuring 4’ x 6’ x 3’ to work with. As various pieces are stacked on top of one another with the help of skilled lift operators, audience members will be thrilled to see some sculptures reach possible heights of more than 25 feet! The awards ceremony for this particular event will be held on Friday, March 7th and cash prizes will be given to those who rank from 1st-10th place. Additionally, awards will go to those who are voted Artists’ Choice, Governors’ Choice and People’s Choice.


For more information about these events, as well as the Amateur Open Exhibition and Youth Classic, visit and make your way up North later this month to support your fellow ice crafters!


(Posted by: Alice Connelly of Ice Crafters)