Melting ice sculptures across the Kenai Peninsulaare remnants of the Peninsula Winter Games
Photo By Rhonda Larson
One lone ice sculpture stands as the sentinel over the remains of the Alaska State Championship Ice Carving Contest held during last month’s Peninsula Winter Games (PWG).
Visitors approaching the Soldotna Sports Center for the Arctic Winter Games opening ceremonies and events will see blocks of ice scattered about. Like the seahorse, these were works of art that did not survive a warm, rainy spell a few weeks ago. It was hoped they would still be standing during the Games, but Mother Nature did not cooperate.
The sculptures included representations of sea life, Darth Vader, a praying mantis, and two penguins sliding on ice. The carvers came from across Alaska and as far away as Washington State. Kenai Peninsula business owners commissioned sculptures of a dog sled team, polar bear and leprechaun by local ice carver Scott Hansen and their semi-melted remains can still be seen around town.
In 2001, ice carving became an event for the PWG which is similar to the Games as they include Native Youth Olympic demonstrations, dog-weight pull, youth hockey tournament, snowboarding, junior sled dog race and figure skating. The ice sculptures were intended to do double duty to share PWG with athletes and visitors for the Games.
At the Soldotna Visitors Center, next to the bridge, stand the remains of an Eskimo ice sculpture. The slowly dissolving Eskimo, carved from ice cut from a pond just a short distance from the Arctic Winter Games headquarters by Soldotna Rotary Club members, extends his welcome albeit in less majestic form. The Eskimohardy and proud like the people of the North he representshas shown strength in his longevity unlike his fellow icy works of art.
Before it melts any further visitors can take advantage of having their picture taken with it as a souvenir of their Games experience in Alaska.
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