Photos from Ice Magic Festival 2011

Each year, ice carvers from all over the world gather on the shores of Lake Louise for an international ice carving competition, the Ice Magic Festival (this year, from January 21 to 23). The teams of two have just 34 hours to carve and put together 15 blocks of ice (each weighing 300 lbs) and create a unique ice carving. Furthermore, each carving must be between 7 and 13.5 feet high. This year’s theme was “Magical Madness,” so there were a lot of dragons and sorcerers out there on the terrace outside the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. It made for a pretty impressive scene.

I went to check out the last day of the festival and arrived just as carvers were cleaning up and the judges were out tallying up the scores. I wandered around with the multitudes of people then took a skate on the rink on Lake Louise as the sun went down. It was worth heading back to the festival at night when the sculptures were all lit up and the crowds had dwindled, which is when I took these photos. All in all, the Ice Magic Festival is a great event to come to, so be sure to check it out some year if you’re going to be in Banff National Park in January. Visit for more information.

This sculpture, "Precarious Predicament" won first prize.

The three-headed dog up close.

My personal favourite.

Check out his reflection in the mirror.

I'm not sure how they do those bubbles on the dragon's body, but they were pretty neat.

I loved how the tongue floated on this sculpture.

This one got my vote for creativity.

It's incredible that these things stay upright.

© Meghan J. Ward, 2011.

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