FAIRBANKS — Opening day is drawing closer for the 2011 BP World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, and work is under way to make sure everything is ready.
The 22nd annual ice sculpting extravaganza featuring artists from around the world will kick off Feb. 22 and run through March 27 at the Ice Park, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
Ice Alaska chairman Dick Brickley says volunteers have been busy for months farming, cutting and stockpiling the high grade, blue-hued ice, unique to Fairbanks, called “The Arctic Diamond.”
Four ice sculpting events are featured during the 34 days of Ice Alaska.
The Single Block Classic World Ice Art Championship is comprised of two sculpture competitions Abstract and Realistic and both begin on opening day, Feb. 22, ending 60 hours later on Feb. 24.
Teams of two develop their creations using one block of ice measuring 5 feet-by-8 feet-by-3 feet and weighing 7,200 pounds.
The Multi Block competition, Feb. 27-March 4, is for teams of two to four people. Teams are given 10 blocks of ice measuring 4 feet-by-6 feet-by-3 feet, weighing 55,000 pounds. The artists are assisted by heavy equipment operators to lift and position ice.
The Amateur Open Exhibition, Feb. 23 to March 18, is open to residents who want to try ice sculpting without the stress of competition or a rigid schedule.
The Frances and Clarence G. Beers Youth Classic is open to middle and high school students who have the advantage of consulting experienced artists for technical assistance.
The ice carving competitions feature an international lineup of ice artists from 16 countries — including China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia and South Korea.