'We’re pushing it further than we have before' Professional ice carvers back for 'High on Ice' Winter Festival
Artist Ryan Cook uses a chainsaw to form blocks used to create an ice sculpture.
FORT ST. JOHN -- Ice carvers were out today preparing for Fort St. John’s highly-anticipated ‘High on Ice’ Winter Festival.
Six artists have begun chipping away at 300 pound blocks of ice, brought in from Toronto, to create sculptural pieces that will be on display at the winter-themed event taking place over the Family Day weekend.
Returning for his 10th year is Ryan Cook, a carver and judge on the television series of 'A Cut Above,' who fired up his chainsaw as he and his team work to carve out a pair of 14-foot ibex rams who will appear to be butting heads.
“The City of Fort St. John does such a great job of planning, prepping, and every year we’re pushing it further and further than we have before,” said Cook.
Cook says that this year the festival has more activities than ever before, with kids having a chance to take part in creating their own ice sculpture on the ‘little chippers’ wall.
Attendees can also register to take part in an ice carving workshop hosted by Cook.
The event was started in 2005 and was originally put on by the Fort St. John Arts Council.
Today, the event averages 10 to 20 thousand people coming through to participate over the duration of three days.
Due to small amounts of snowfall this year, event crews had to collect snow from across the city and bring it on-site to make the festival favourite ice slides possible this year.
There will also be live music, food vendors, and the introduction of an LED-light installation titled “The Tunnel.”
“As a parent, it creates an atmosphere where you can look at art in a different scope and you can look at it in a way that translates to our community,” said City of Fort St. John Arts and Culture Programmer Victoria Butler.
The city is also looking to make the festival a barrier-free zone by providing accessibility options and free bus service to and from the event.
The Fort St. John Literacy Society will also be hosting a guided and descriptive story walk of the classic children’s book ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’
“It doesn’t matter who you are in the community, we all come together and we celebrate what it’s like to live in minus 50,” said Butler.
Admission to the event is free in part of community sponsors, and runs from February 16th to 19th at Centennial Park.