ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The “Coolest Celebration on Earth” got underway last Thursday as the St. Paul Winter Carnival kicked off, and so did the ice carving contest in Rice Park.

A total of six teams competed for the title.

“This competition is 48 hours, 20 blocks of ice,” said Terry Reis from southeast Iowa. He came in as the defending champion.

“We started Thursday morning at 9 o’clock and we go until tomorrow (Friday) morning at 9 o’clock.”

Reis created a puppet stage with two giant hands holding a plane using strings made of ice. Reis said the weather was perfect sculpting.

“It’s been about five or six years since you could get in here and actually cut ice. Usually you have to wait during the day because it’s usually 35 degrees,” said Reis. “[We would] cut at night and cover during the day.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

Each block of ice 40” x 20” x 10,” weighs 300 pounds and each team gets 20 blocks.

Many of the competitors are chefs that learned how to carve ice for buffets. They used all kinds of tools including chainsaws, chisels and irons to smooth out the ice.

“The key to winning this competition is executing your piece to the best of your ability,” said Chris Swarbrick. Swarbrick has been competing for six years and took first place two years ago. “Come up with a good design, utilize all your ice and try to stretch the boundaries.”

The winners of the contest were announced over the weekend. The individual champion was Greg Schmotzer of Hastings, whose work was called “Parrot in a Cage.” The team carving title went to a Jack Frost sculpture.


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