Tuesday, January 08, 2008

ice? nice!

One of the ways weather impacts our lives is how it determines what we do for recreation. As someone who grew up in Saskatchewan, it was natural for me to take for granted things like skating outdoors in the winter. But you certainly can't count on a winter skate on an outdoor pond in the more temperate lower mainland of British Columbia where I live now.

In this era of indoor rinks, the weather is no longer a factor for activities like hockey, figure skating and curling. However it still is for skiing, snow-boarding, snowshoeing, dog-sledding and - ice sculpting.

Last week I got an email with some pretty amazing photos of ice sculptures. These are from one of the biggest ice and snow sculpture competitions on the globe, Harbin China. You certainly need an outdoor deep freeze to keep these building-sized ice structures intact. But the results, especially with the reflection of all the lights at night, are stunning. Dates of this year's festival are right now - January 6-13

And did you know there were ice hotels? These are actually giant igloos, converted into destination hotels. They are usually built beside rivers or lakes from which the builders draw water, freeze it and cut the ice into large blocks before trucking it into place. A large hotel takes five to six weeks to build.

The original ICEHOTEL is in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. From an article on How Stuff Works:

ICEHOTEL boasts unique rooms, a starkly beautiful church and the ABSOLUT ICEBAR, where the bar and the glasses are all made from ice. During the day, the hotel opens to visitors who tour the rooms without staying the night. But at 6 p.m., the ice museum closes and overnight guests take over. They leave their luggage with a porter, who takes it to a heated storage area. Bathrooms and changing rooms are also heated. By 9 p.m., most people retire to their rooms. Guests wear long underwear and sleep in mummy bags on ice blocks covered by mattresses and reindeer skins.
- read the rest

There is also an ice hotel in Quebec (Hotel de Glace Inc.). It is Located at the Station touristique Duchesnay on the shores of Lake St. Joseph and comes complete with a chapel for weddings. Check out these photos.

As for the weather here - today I woke up to snow. But it's currently raining. My town would be a heartbreak of a place for ice sculptors.

To learn more about the weather all over blogland, go this post at Rebecca Writes.


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