The art and sport of ice carving

Ice Palace from Quebec Winter Carnival 2009. Source: Shapiros10, Wikipedia Commons

Ice carving is practiced all around the world (think hotels, restaurants and weddings). But it comes into full glory in the cold places where ice can be used to build an entire hotel, a winter palace or large works of art.

Kenny Hayden has a background in architecture, restaurants and athletic endeavors. For the past 15 years, he’s also been an ice sculptor. The Ottawa Citizen’s Bruce Deachman has a nice profile in words and photos, as can be seen here.

Here’s Hayden’s take on the demands of the activity:

“I’ve ice-carved out here when it’s minus-30,” he says, “and I can tell you that’s no fun. When you’re here 12 hours one day, 15 hours another day, that’s a long time to be outside in minus-20 degree or colder weather.

“It’s tough,” he adds. “I’ve played a lot of sports — I ran 15 marathons and have been an active guy my whole life, and this is one of the toughest sports. After eight hours outside lifting these tools, dragging around 300-pounds blocks of ice and lifting them up … by the end of the day, you’re dragging your knuckles on the ground, and when you hit that couch or bed, it’s not sleeping, it’s passing out.”

Ugh, sounds brutal!

All the more to appreciate while admiring what these artists produce.

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