Boardwalk Ice On Whyte Festival

Dave and I had the pleasure of being the photographers for the Boardwalk Ice On Whyte festival this year. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a winter festival with an ice carving competition, ice carving lessons, an ice bar, and many other activities. It was held from January 25 to February 11 in the Whyte Ave area (across the street from El Cortez).

The ice carving competition is actually quite intense! The carvers of the 8 sculptures hail from all around the world (Netherlands, France, Mexico, Nepal, Poland, and others) and create unbelievable works of art out of giant slabs of ice. Take a look at some of these creations:

The winners of this year’s competition were The Baisis Brothers from Canada and the Philippines. Their sculpture was named Alliance (the one with the warrior on top of spider legs).  Here they are accepting their first place prize:

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The ice carving lessons (Big Chippers for the adults, L’il Chippers for the kids) were a lot of fun. Participants get a slab of ice, trace a design on top, then carve out their own piece of art. One of the best things for Dave and I was the fact these lessons took place in a heated igloo tent. It was C-O-L-D out there during the festival. It’s not so bad when you can wear giant gloves and/or keep your hands in your pockets, but having to use your fingers to take photos made for some icy hands. The heated igloo was our savior for sure!

Here is a look at some of the L’il Chippers in action:

And the Big Chippers having their fun:

The adults warmed up in a fantastic ice bar that was next to the ice carving lessons igloo. And by ice bar, I mean the actual bar was made out of ice! It was cool! (pun intended).

Inside the ice bar, you could get warmed up with hot chocolate mixed with different spirits, or have a cold beer. Also made out of ice was a giant sculpture that served as a luge for pouring shots down.  Check out some of the action at the ice bar:

On Sunday, February 4th, El Cortez hosted the Whiskey Stew Off. This was a stew-making competition with a twist: the chefs from 4 different restaurants around town had to use only local ingredients and also use whiskey from Hansen Distillery (one of the festival sponsors) in their creation. Dave can tell you that each of the competitors made delicious stews!! The winners were the chefs from Meat. Here are some photos from the competition:

As you can see, the festival was pretty darn fun. Mark it on your calendars to attend next year.