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Dazzled by the Lake Louise Ice Sculptures

A few weeks ago Lake Louise played host to the Ice Magic Festival – a 10 day event where you can watch ice sculptures unfold before your eyes.

Last year I had planned to attend but it was so busy by mid-afternoon on a Sunday that you had to take a shuttle from Lake Louise Village; I wasn’t interested in dealing with the crowds and gave it a pass. But this year I was staying overnight at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – so I had a chance to photograph the ice sculptures at night and first thing in the morning when the sun hit them.

"Native dancer in the sunshine"

"Native dancer in ice"

Although the ice carvers stick around only for the Ice Magic Festival, their work remains until Mother Nature decides to warm things up. By Sunday last weekend some were already a little worse for wear after an unseasonably warm spell.

"The Sound of an Angel ice sculpture"

The Sound of an Angel ice sculpture

"The sound of an angel at night"

On my recent trip to Saskatoon I had a chance to speak with one of the ice carvers – Kee Gawah – who is responsible for the harp in the photo below. Interestingly most ice carvers come from a culinary background and Kee was no exception. He’d been a pastry chef in Sweden and was looking to make his work more interesting. A stint with some of the best carvers in Japan has changed the direction of his life and now he’s on the international ice carving circuit. (Who knew there was such a thing??)

Ice Harp carved by Kee Gawah

Ice Harp carved by Kee Gawah

"An icy clown"

An icy clown

"The clown at night"

The clown at night

"I'm your puppet - by day"

I’m Your Puppet – by day

"I'm your puppet"

I’m Your Puppet – by night

"Notice the fish detail under the ice"

Notice the fish detail under the ice

"Skeletons made of ice"

Skeletons made of ice

"Skeleton in ice playing the violin"

"An icy skeleton"

An icy skeleton looks scary at night

When to take pictures of ice sculpture

If you want to photograph ice sculptures it’s especially important to be around when the sun makes them sparkle – and in Lake Louise that means first thing in the morning. They’re still beautiful in the afternoon but they won’t dazzle you in the same way.

Which of the ice sculptures from the Lake Louise Ice Magic Festival is your favourite?

Leigh McAdam


Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure - & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project - a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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