I have to admit that I didn’t expect much from the ice sculpture festival. I have seen similar events before, and after watching a documentary on TV about construction of an ice hotel I thought that there won’t be anything else to impress me. I was wrong.
I’ve never seen ice sculptures so beautiful and elaborate. The degree of detail and precision was impressive. And the whole event was set against the backdrop of historic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel on one side and frozen lake and mountains on the other. It was an unforgettable experience. Fairmont even built an ice bar for guests, offering a selection of icewines among other drinks. And on the lake itself people were ice skating and playing hockey around the ice castle. It was quite an event.
The festival started on 21st of January and lasted for 3 days. The main part is the competition between professional ice carving teams from around the world, including Canada, USA, Russia, UK and others. They had to complete their work in 3 days. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the finished work because I had a flight to Toronto early next morning.
Apart from the main competition there were many smaller events, all set in different places around Lake Louise village. Ice carving demonstration was quite fun, one person had to make a sculpture out of 2 blocks of ice in just under half an hour. It was really interesting to see how blocks of ice turn in to a bear with salmon right in front of your eyes.
I definitely really enjoyed the festival. One thing to note is that instead of using local ice from Lake Louise, they had to import it from Seattle, made with special filtered water.This is because ice has to be as clear as possible.