Ice Around Town, as some of you might remember, is part of the festivities surrounding The Peninsula Winter Games. The PWG is a whole day of kid-friendly games, tournaments, outdoor activities, even an ice cream social. The Native Youth Olympics are also held that day in case anyone might like to go see traditional games being played. Last year's PWG is where I first saw, and coveted, a kicksled of my own.
Businesses in Soldotna and Kenai can commission ice sculptures that are carved by local sculptors from local ice, harvested from River Bend Lake near Beaver Loop Road. We look forward to seeing them every winter, and are sorry that the day of the PWG the weather was overcast and dreary, and subsequently our photos didn't turn out very well and do not show off the sculptures to their best advantage.
The main events are held at the sports center in Soldotna. The Monopoly tournament, hockey games, ice bowling, snowmachine sled rides, and kicksled rides are there. But perhaps the biggest draw are the huge ice slides. I can't believe we managed to avoid getting a single photo of the entire ice slide setup. AARGH. Trust me, it was awesome. There were two, one small one for tiny tots (which shot the kids out into the parking lot a respectable distance for only being about three feet tall), and the main slide complex. Ice stairs to one side led up to the slide on the other, with saddled sculptures around the base, to keep the kids entertained while they waited their turns.
Approaching the slides from the parking lot, a sculpture of a bear mushing a dog represents the Tustumena 200 race.
A closer shot of the mushing bear:
Nearer the slides was this bear:
OOH!! SOMEONE'S GIVING AWAY A FREE PUPPY! I NEED THAT PUPPY!!
Okay, I didn't bring the puppy home. But I was tempted. Oh, so tempted.
One of the saddled sculptures for the kids to climb on near the base of the slide:
I have no idea who this little girl is, but ain't she adorable? Get an idea of the scale of the sculpture from the adults standing behind its head.
Some of the sculptures just didn't show up in the photos very well at all, such as this saddled bear:
But by tweaking the colors a bit, even though it's not like in real life, you can see them better. The woman in the background is looking up towards the top of the slide, which you can see on the left. It was a long, tall slide.
The sledding bear at the entrance to the recreation center was one that needed some unnatural tweaking in order to show up much.
Leaving the rec center, we headed to town to check out the sculptures at the local businesses. The Soldotna Visitor's Center never fails to entertain with their interactive sculptures. This year, you could pretend to be frozen in a block of ice like a caveman.
The Duck Inn has a martini and two ducks wishing they could drink it:
KSRM radio's surfing moose:
Arby's curly fries:
Blazy Construction's howling wolf:
Alaska Open Imaging's teddy-bear-style moose:
An eagle at Soldotna Mini Storage:
A twice-vandalized walrus at the pharmacy was my favorite, even though we never saw it in its undamaged condition:
This photo of the walrus' missing tusks is from the Redoubt Reporter. The tusks were broken off, replaced, and broken off again. What a shame. Apparently it's quite rare that anyone bothers the sculptures.
Surfing puffin at the dentist's office (sorry you can't see it better):
The puffin's face:
The Cheshire Cat at another dentist up the street:
A polar bear texting on a mobile phone in front of Alaska Communications:
Dairy Queen's banana split:
The Kenai Watershed Forum's slots-playing bear:
Sweeney's leprechaun is showing his penguin friend a shamrock and a gold coin:
The sculpture at the airport wasn't finished yet, so here it is in progress:
And here's the finished moose flying an open-cockpit plane:
I think this catches you up on what we've been doing around here for the past month or so. See you next time!