Ice Sculptures Ice Sculptures
Ice Sculpture

Ice Sculptures

Ice Sculpture


The art of ice sculpture has become a worldwide phenomenon that has been around for hundreds of years.

Each country has its own traditions and presentations of the art form. Festivals and events are hosted every year in certain countries and below, we explore the different countries, cultures and festivals that make up the art of creating an ice sculpture.


Quebec city, in Canada, holds an ice sculpture festival in its annual Quebec city winter carnival. The sculpture festival itself lasts around three weeks. The festival invites twenty teams to compete in the competition half of those are from Canada the rest are from various countries all over the world. Due to the volume of people who visit the festival and the huge variety in the different types of ice sculpture, the Quebec festival is regarded by some as the finest ice sculpture festival in the world.


In the Heilongjiang province, arguably where ice sculptures originated from, the increasingly popular International ice and snow sculpture festival is held each year in the city of Harbin. Due to the climate of the region being very cold and ice being plentiful it is a great place to visit whether an artist yourself or just interested in ice sculpture plus being a nominated as the place where ice sculptures began it blend traditional ice lanterns with modern day artistic views. The variety of the ice sculptures on show at the festival range from the lantern sized to an ice sculpture bigger than houses.


Ice sculpture, in Japan, first became popular in the 1930’s creating its own ice sculpture association.. The island of Hokkaido is famous for its winter carnival held in the city of Sapporo. The festival gets teams of people to compete in creating an ice sculpture so of which are larger than multi story buildings others go for a more decorative approach. Japan itself is a great contributor to the ice sculpture art with dedicated authors producing high quality books on the subject to its own Japan ice sculpture association. 


The climate of Alaska has given it one of the best places for ice sculpture anywhere in the world and since 1989 Alaska has held the annual world ice art championships. Each year, nearly a 100 competitor’s flock to Alaska to compete in the completion of turning large blocks of ice into fabulous works of art. The whole thing is run almost exclusively by enthusiastic ice sculpture volunteers. The usual yearly attendance for the event is around forty five thousand visitors, and the competition gets broken down into two main events, the single block and the multi block events.

Other countries in the world

Other countries worth mentioning are France, Ireland, Russia and Sweden, who all contribute to the art in various ways. Russia, another nomination for the origins of ice sculpture, holds an annual event at Moscow’s Gorky park in Salekhard. In Sweden an entire hotel is constructed from ice each year and has guests staying within its ice hotel.