Anchor Point father/daughter team claims Peninsula Winter Games Carvers Championship...

Posted: Tuesday, February 08, 2005


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  Another image in ice at the 2005 PWG.

Ben & Aurora Firth of Anchor Point claim 1st place in the PWG ice carving championship.

Thanks to the community minded spirit and perseverance of a couple of guys like Jerry Near and Norm Blakeley, the ice carving competition has become a centerpiece of the Peninsula Winter Games (PWG). They started a few years ago with an idea and a lot help from their friends and members of the Soldotna Rotary Club and this year ice artists from all over the state came to participate in the ice carving championships. The results along with a cold snap from Old Man Winter have given residents and visitors a crystal delight and photos that will appear on family postcards and holiday greetings to be sent around the world.


PWG Award winning Eagle in ice.

At the PWG awards banquet last weekend the winners of this year's ice carving competition were announced by some of the kids for which the Peninsula Winter Games were created for 29 years ago. Al and Bernice York of Sterling started the annual event back when there wasn't much for kids to do in the dead of winter, "And it'll forever more be about the kids," said Aud Walaszek, executive director for the Kenai Peninsula Tourism and Marketing Council and event coordinator. The carvers compete in two categories, the Carver's Choice, voted on by the participating artists, and the People's Choice, selected by ballot of those viewing the exhibition and casting their ballots during the day.


Another image in ice at the 2005 PWG.

First time winners of the Carver's Choice award this year were Ben and Aurora Firth, a father-daughter team that chiseled an awe inspiring eagle. Ben is an artist from Anchor Point and was joined by his 18-year-old daughter Aurora, "This was my first time carving with my dad, I've carved twice before with my younger brother in The Fairbanks Open. My parents got into it earlier, and as I got older I started doing it too. I do a lot of pencil drawing, not too much sculpture, but ice is fun," said Aurora. Ice carving has some unique challenges says Ben but as long as the temperatures are below freezing you can always glue those breaks back with a little water. The Firths have an art studio at mile 161 of the Sterling Highway in Anchor Point where he displays his painting and other carvings done in wood and antler. Being selected by their peers and competing carvers gave special meaning to the award for the Firth's.


Another image in ice at the 2005 PWG.

The award gives the Firth's claim to the Alaska State Championship title, a $500 cash prize, and paid entry and ice fees to the World Championship ice carving competition to be held in Fairbanks. The second place Carver's award and $300 cash prize went to Scott Hanson and John Iverson of Sterling, for their sculpture of the cartoon character Tigger. The ever popular side kick of Winnie the Pooh even seemed bouncy in ice, and captured the People's Choice award and an additional $500 cash prize. It was the second year in a row that the carving team of Hanson and Iverson won the People's Choice award.

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