City of Poznan

The 2012 International Poznań Ice Festival.

The chainsaw is not the most precise of tools. You wouldn't want to use it for removing a gallbladder. But put into the hands of a professional ice sculptor, the preferred weapon of backwoods demon slayers can create wintertime effigies whose ethereal majesty kicks a snowman's humble butt.

Recently, the most talented artisans in the ice-carving industry (yes, it's considered an industry) convened in the Polish city of Poznań for its yearly International Ice Sculpture Festival. The 2012 bash – the only one of its kind in Europe – was up in the air for a while, with Poznań's purse-string holders guessing this spring that it would be canceled due to "economical problems." But because winter in Poznań just wouldn't be the same without burly beardos turning ice boulders into reindeer and weird heads in the public square, officials decided to go ahead with it, anyway, staging the frigid event over two days earlier this month.

Below, find a few of the 2012 offerings from the world's best ice carvers. It's no surprise that the winners of the contest hailed from countries with bitter winters, with first-through-third places going to Poland/France, Japan and Russia, respectively. For more sculptures that can cool your cocktail, check out the City of Poznań's photo portal.

These shots are taken from the video below, produced by Kam Kam Visuals:

VII International Ice Sculpture Festival | Poznan 2012 from KamKam Visuals on Vimeo.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    What ‘Livability’ Looks Like for Black Women

    Livability indexes can obscure the experiences of non-white people. CityLab analyzed the outcomes just for black women, for a different kind of ranking.

  2. Life

    Here’s How Much Airbnb Is Lowering Hotel Prices and Occupancy

    The number of Airbnb properties has exploded since its founding in 2008. A hospitality management expert looks at how this has hurt hotels.

  3. Design

    Why Amsterdam’s Canal Houses Have Endured for 300 Years

    A different kind of wealth distribution in 17th-century Amsterdam paved the way for its quintessential home design.

  4. Two women at a bar with a bottle between them.
    Life

    The Particular Creativity of Dense Urban Neighborhoods

    A new study finds evidence that Jane Jacobs was right about the dynamic and innovative qualities spurred by living in dense, urban neighborhoods.

  5. a detail from Andrew's Cuomo's 2020 State of the State goals
    Life

    The Squid and the Governor

    Design experts sound off about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s unusual, cephalopod-filled graphic design sensibility.

×