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Amazing Snow Sculptures: Photo Gallery

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Check out the incredible art made from perhaps the most basic medium of all: frozen water.

Check out the incredible art made from perhaps the most basic medium of all: frozen water.

Very Cool Art

Have you ever visited an ice or snow sculpture festival?

If you have, then you know that some of the sculptures are almost unbelievable, even if they're right in front of you. Just look at some of these photos; can you believe your eyes?

If you haven't ever had the opportunity to go to an ice or snow festival, enjoy the picture gallery here. Perhaps it will inspire you to plan a winter trip to one of these festivals!


What Is an Ice Sculpture?

An ice sculpture is a sculpture that is carved from ice. It can be abstract or realistic in form, and it can be functional or decorative in purpose.

Carefully selected and free of impurities (ideal carving ice is made from pure, clean water), clear ice is mostly the result of slow freezing allowed by certain machines and processes which produce clear blocks of ice looking like snow. Some ice carvers use colored ice blocks produced by adding dyes to the ice, or the combination of clear and colored ice to accomplish a certain effect. The quickness of sculpting depends on the temperature of the environment. If the environment isn't cold, the sculptor might spend ten minutes completing a sculpture (assuming they use razor-sharp chisels specifically designed for cutting ice and power tools like chainsaws and specialty bits fitted to a die grinder).

Ice sculpture is traditionally taught in culinary schools. Some large restaurants or hotels use ice sculptures to decorate the table for a special dinner party. A popular theme for a wedding party is two swans representing the married couple.


What Is a Snow Sculpture?

Snow sculptures are similar to sand sculptures or ice sculptures. They are built outdoors as an art performance, often in the full view of spectators. The materials and tools differ widely (shovels, hatchets, saws). Usually, they are carved out of a single block of snow (approximately six to 15 feet on the sides and weighing about 20 to 30 tons). The snow is either artificially produced or collected from the ground after a snowfall and then densely packed into a form.


How Long Do They Last?

The lifetime of ice and snow sculptures is determined by the temperature of their environment. It can last from mere minutes to months.


Below, you will see a number of photos of extraordinary snow sculptures.

Below, you will see a number of photos of splendid ice sculptures.

Famous Festivals

The most famous ice and snow sculpture festivals are:

  • Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, China
  • The Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan
  • The World Ice Art Championships, Alaska
  • The International Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival "Ice, Snow, and Fire," Russia
  • The Quebec Winter Carnival, Canada

Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival has been held since 1963 in Harbin (People's Republic of China, Northeast China). The Cultural Revolution interrupted the festival until it was resumed in 1985. This place is one of the biggest sources of ice and snow culture in the world, directly influenced by the cold winter wind from Siberia. The average temperature in the wintertime is -16.8 degrees Celsius, but it can fall to -38.1 degrees Celsius.

The festival starts on January 5 and lasts one month. The exhibits sometimes open earlier and stay longer, depending on the weather. Ice sculptures made in previous years include lanterns, slippery dips or ice slides, figures including animals, people, and mythical creatures, and buildings and monuments of different architectural types and styles. The decoration technology ranges from modern (using lasers) to traditional (with ice lanterns).


Sapporo Snow Festival

The famous Sapporo Snow Festival has been held in Sapporo (Japan) since 1950. Six local high school students built six snow statues in Odori Park, and in 1955, the Japan Self-Defense Forces (Makomanai base) built the first massive snow sculptures. The 58th Festival (in 2007) was visited by about two million people who were anxious to see the hundreds of snow statues and ice sculptures. Today, the festival is held over seven days in February, the main sites currently being Tsudome, Odori Park (International Snow Sculpture Contest since 1974), and Susukino. The total number of statues displayed is around 400.

More Festivals

  • Quebec Winter Carnival or Carnaval de Québec: A winter carnival taking place in Quebec City (Quebec, Canada) every year. The festival starts on January 29 and lasts 17 days.
  • World Ice Art Championships: An ice sculpting contest in Fairbanks, Alaska, attended by more than 100 sculptors from 30 different countries every year.
  • International Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival "Ice, Snow, and Fire": This festival has been held since 1995 in Perm, Russia (Gorky Amusement Park).

Snow Castles and Buildings

Here are some photos of amazing snow castles and buildings.

Ice Castles and Buildings

It takes exceptional talent to create works of art like the ice castles and buildings below.


Sense of Humor

Ice and snow sculptures are the work of many talented sculptors and carvers and they're very hard to make. People need knowledge, adequate tools and machines, and a lot of practice to do something similar.

But, judging from the photo above, some people are full of ideas about how to make sculptures that are perhaps meant for more mature audiences!

Please share your comments!

Blackspaniel1 on January 28, 2015:

These are amazing. I like the train best.

Jasmine (author) on September 25, 2012:

Maybe those snow sculptures you made as kids in Wisconsin weren't as fancy as these, but I'm sure it was really fun making them, which is more important :) I'll check that hub for sure, but now I'm off to bed. It's been a long time since I was kept busy commenting until late :) Thanks for a nice evening and interesting conversation, Peggy. Until soon... :)

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 25, 2012:

These ice and snow sculptures are amazing! If you would like to see some ice sculptures made in Houston, Texas check out my hub...January Day at Discovery Green Park in Houston... The artists had to work fast as the day was sunny and warm. It was fun to see them create the works of art before our very eyes. As to snow sculptures, when we were kids growing up in Wisconsin, we made snow forts and of course, snowmen. Nothing quite as fancy as these snow sculptures pictured here! Up votes!

RobertDCrandell on October 20, 2011:


Jasmine (author) on December 20, 2010:

Yes, they are great Galaxy 59. I hope to visit one of the festivals in the future. I am sure it would be an unforgettable experience!

Galaxy Harvey from United Kingdom on December 20, 2010:

Wow! Unbelieveable pictures, simply stunning. Great hub, I could stare at those pictures all day. I might have a go at some ice scultpting myself if our weather here in the UK keeps up!

Jaynie2000 on November 23, 2010:

Amazing! The pictures are awesome and the ideas are so creative and unique. Thanks so much for sharing. I've got a hub to share as well. It's definitely much smaller scale, but super fun to do with your kids.

Rose Kolowinski on May 22, 2010:

It's amazing what a person can make out of ice or snow. Awesome pictures and a super hub!

fishtiger58 from Momence, Illinois on April 17, 2010:

That looks like so much fun I would love to attend one of those. Great hub.

Rebecca E. from Canada on April 14, 2010:

excellent work and excellent hub.

shoban babu from Los Angles on March 02, 2010:

fantastic work.

Also have a look at the unbelievable mysterious tree through following link

Jasmine (author) on February 24, 2010:

To festersporling1: Thanks for the comment! Glad you found something you like.

Jasmine (author) on February 24, 2010:

To tonymac04: I´m glad you like them. Hopefully we´ll all see them live some day and share experiences!

Daniel Christian from Los Angeles, CA on February 24, 2010:

Wow, some of these are REALLY good!

Jasmine (author) on February 24, 2010:

To Ann Nonymous: Thanks for the comment! Hopefully you´ll attend a festival of this kind soon and share your own photos with us! :-)

Tony McGregor from South Africa on February 24, 2010:

These pix are simply marvellous! Thanks so much for putting such an interesting gallery together.

Love and peace


Ann Nonymous from Virginia on February 08, 2010:

I've always wanted to attend one of these and we even had one locally for several years in a row but somehow I never was able to make it. But this is AMAZING. I am definitely bookmarking it! Thanks for sharing it!

rmcrayne from San Antonio Texas on January 28, 2010:

Thank you for participating in the Winter Sports HubMob. Your hub has been entered into the Winter Sports HubMob round-up hub.