Ice Wrangler's Blog

StarTribune Article Calls It!

Posted on February 18, 2017 by Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 0 Comments

StarTribune Article about Middlemoon Creekwalk

A big thank you to StarTribune writer Kim Ode who wrote a wonderful article about how the unseasonable weather has impacted our business and our ability to host the Middlemoon Creekwalk. Spot on!

 

It's so true--we have had to hustle like crazy to do most of our installs this winter! Fortunately, regardless of the weather yo-yo, we were able to install many private home displays, a large ice display at the REI in Bloomington, MN, we contributed to the Enchanted Forest at the Luminary Loppet, and did a full scale icebonanza at the Midwinter Light install at The Commons! So, all in all, given the shortness of our season, we have had a great winter! 

 

What Kim is talking about, is the current warm temps may make it impossible for us to pull together a Middlemoon Creekwalk this season. But Tom and I don't like to give up. If we get even a few days of freezing temps, we will definitely try! Just look at this long range forecast:

weather

It looks hopeful to me! Especially the part about the snow. Yeah! So, please pay homage to your deity of choice and mention that we would love to have some snow and cold in Minnesota soon. I will thank you in advance :)

 

While doing so, please do not repeat the part of the article where it quotes me as saying, "I would kill for a walk-in freezer . . ." Yikes! When I see it in writing, it sounds a tad dramatic. My guess is, if we had access to a walk in freezer, I might shed a few tears of happiness, hug whomever is nearby and then jump for joy! After the article, we had one kind person offered the suggestion of their church's hand-me-down freezer. Nice idea! Rest assured, I am going to be keeping my eyes and ears open on this front.

 

For a reminder of how much fun the Middlemoon Creekwalk can be, here is a link to the photos of the 2016 event! 

 

Enjoy the Glow!

Jennifer Shea Hedberg - The Ice Wrangler

 

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©Wintercraft.  All Rights Reserved. This blog post may be linked to and credited, however, the contents including all photos, videos and text may not be reproduced in any form without written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Custom Ice Luminary Installations, Ice Art, Ice bar, Luminary Ice Creations, Media, Middlemoon Creekwalk, Wintercraft

The Miracles of The Commons

Posted on February 14, 2017 by Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 2 Comments

Wintercraft Ice Wrangler The Commons Park

 

(Follow up to Mother Nature: Friend or Foe)

 

When we accepted the commission of a 5 day ice luminary installation at The Commons in downtown Minneapolis, we went into it with our eyes wide open. We knew that weather could play a part in the outcome of any installation, but we did not expect the worst conditions possible. Not only did Mother Nature sock us in with high winds that spun through the park day and night, but she other denied us of the two most important things we needed: cold weather and snow! The combination was harsh.

 

Wintercraft Wide open Globe Ice Lantern by Chris Broste Photography 

High wind can be dealt with by how the ice lanterns are set up. The chimneys were fairly large by the last day which made it very challenging, but with the help of Tom, Nate, Mary and Dale, we successfully lit as many as we could. Some of the tall, thin Finnish Glass Towers needed to be broken up and used individually.

 

Wintercraft Ice Wrangler The Commons Three Candlelit Finnish Columns

 

Snow, at least, can be found in a pinch. But, the process requires a lot more time and hard labor to find it, transport it and selectively place it where it is needed. During this installation, snow became gold!

 

Wintercraft Ice Wrangler Chris Broste Photography No Snow in The Commons Park

This beautiful photo by Chris Broste shows the extreme lack of snow!

 

The warm weather was the true killer. Mix warmth with sun and you should just throw up your hands and say, "I surrender!" Thankfully, we had several days of really cold weather before the event to be able to make many Finnish Glass Towers and hundreds of globe ice lanterns. The problem was the long range forecast. All the weather stations were predicting a big thaw with a week of sunny days and temps that could reach the 40's or 50's F (4-10°C). So, Tom reached into his back pocket and pulled out his Ace of Hearts and the first MIRACLE of The Commons. Tom figured out a way to box all the ice pillars and ice lanterns, put them on pallets and shipped them to a huge freezer warehouse where they would sit in ice heaven during that warm week. Such relief! Truthfully, I am not sure I can put the feeling into words . . .

 

Wintercraft Winter Storage

 

But, we still had a large crop of Ice Glass to worry about because it was too big to store in the warehouse. Ice Glass has become a staple in my ice installations and I was unsure what I would do if all of it melted into a puddle. Ice Glass cannot be transported by vehicle after it has sat in warm weather/sun for a few days -- it just becomes too weak to make the trip. So, my solution was to locate a sun-free spot within walking distance of the event where the ice glass could be stored during the thaw. There was no spot in the park itself, but across the street, on the north corner of the Armory building was a set of garage doors in full shade that appeared to not be used. Amanda Wigen and Beth Shogren, directors of The Commons and Green Minneapolis, the conservancy that overseas its maintenance, obtained permission from the property managers and poof - MIRACLE number two occurred. We had a perfect spot for the ice glass. But, would it survive the high temps and rain?

 

Ice Glass Storage by the Armory

 

MIRACLE of The Commons number 3: The ice glass survived!

 

Wintercraft Ice Wrangler Ice Glass Survived the Thaw by Chris Broste Photography

 

We had to hand carry it across the street - piece by piece - but it looked great. The warm weather had etched it, so each piece was filled with an amazing pattern that picked up the light and danced!

 

Wintercraft Ice Wrangler The Commons Flower Tower Photo by Chris Broste

We managed to get everything assembled and lit for 5 full days! It was a fabulous experience and I will be forever thankful for the three MIRACLES of The Commons that made it happen!

 

Wintercraft Ice Wrangler The Commons Ice Luminary Installation Robin Hetchler facebook photos

Thank you to Robin Hetchler for allowing me to publish a compilation of her facebook photos - beautiful shots!

- - - 

And thank you to Chris Broste of Chris Broste Photography for the use of his beautiful photos!

 

Enjoy the Glow!

Jennifer Shea Hedberg, Ice Wrangler for Wintercraft 
 
***
©Wintercraft. All Rights Reserved. This blog post may be linked to and credited, however, the contents including all photos, videos and text may not be reproduced in any form without written permission.

Posted in Custom Globe Ice Lantern Installation, Globe Ice Lanterns, Hanging Globe Ice Lanterns, Ice Photography, Luminary Festival, Luminary Ice Creations, Wintercraft

Mother Nature: Friend or Foe?

Posted on January 24, 2017 by Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 0 Comments

Wintercraft Proposal Image for Midwinter Light in The Commons park in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota

Wintercraft Proposal Image for "Midwinter Light - Creating Art with Ice and Light", a candle and LED lit ice luminary event in The Commons park, downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Dusk -10pm, January 27th-31st, 2017. 

 

One would think with a large ice luminary event to install in the next few days, my thoughts about Mother Nature would be generous and kind. It is, after all, because of her gift of cold weather that we can even attempt to create something as beautiful as an ice luminary. But, you see, in Minneapolis, where it often blows cold, she has taken a vacation for about 6 days. The warmth she brought could have wreaked havoc with our progress to make ice luminaries of all shapes and sizes. But, I bring GOOD NEWS! We planned ahead . . .

 

Wintercraft Cold Storage Solution to Warm Temps

 Cold Storage Warehouse in Fridley, Minnesota.

 

We boxed up all the ice luminaries that we had made through the previous cold snap and trucked them off to a cold storage warehouse where they are snug and cold in their wrappers. On Thursday morning, a truck will drop off 7 pallets of ice cold luminaries at The Commons park and we will work like crazy to assemble them all into a beautiful candle and LED lit event.

 

Wintercraft Ice Glass for Midwinter Light

 This is how we usually store our Ice Glass until we are ready to use it. With warm weather on the way, we moved it into deep shade and covered it with a large sheet of plastic.

 

The Ice Glass we made for Midwinter Light had a harder time. We were unable to store them away with the rest of the ice because of their large size. We did find a nice place in the shade where they could relax and think cold thoughts. Are we worried? Yes and no. We would love for the rows of Ice Glass to be as strong and tall as we left them, but we also live by the credo,"What doesn't kill ice glass makes it more beautiful." So, if they survived, they will find an honored spot in the woods of The Commons. The aged and crackled ice makes the light dance, so we'll give it center stage!

 

Bruce Challgren for Wintercraft Sunkissed Globe Ice Lantern

This old globe ice lantern was sun-kissed for several days to evoke a "cut crystal" look. Glorious! This beautiful photo was taken by Bruce Challgren - Thanks Bruce!

 

The Midwinter Light Event will Evolve

If Mother Nature won and the Ice Glass did not survive, a new batch will be made as soon as the weather will allow it. Then, we will bring it down, install it and light it up. We will make the first night of Midwinter Light as grand as possible, but please note that every day that is cold enough to make ice, we will make it, bring it down and light it up!

 

WHERE: The Commons is the park that lays out in front of the new U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis. And our Midwinter Light event will be taking place in the woods of The Commons park which is at the farthest point away from the stadium.  

Where is The Commons park in Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

WHEN: We will be building the ice luminaries all day Thursday (Jan 26) and Friday (Jan 27) with the plan to light it all up that night thru Tuesday the 31st of January. Of course, the sun will be lighting up the ice during the day, too. 

 

I hope you make it down - and if you see me, please stop and say hi!

 

Enjoy the Glow!

Jennifer Shea Hedberg, Ice Wrangler for Wintercraft 
 
***
©Wintercraft. All Rights Reserved. This blog post may be linked to and credited, however, the contents including all photos, videos and text may not be reproduced in any form without written permission.

Posted in Custom Ice Luminary Installations, Hanging Globe Ice Lanterns, Ice Art, Ice Glass, Luminary Festival, Luminary Ice Creations, Wintercraft

My Love Affair with Snow

Posted on January 11, 2017 by Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 1 Comment

Wintercraft Globe Ice Lanterns waiting to work under a blanket of snow

 

Today is a beautiful winter day!

 

The sun may be hiding, but the snow is thick and glorious. And, because it is snowing, the happiness it brings has compelled me to mention a few thoughts about . . . snow.

 

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

 

This famous poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning continues, but I think you get the idea. I love snow and I CAN count the ways:

 

1. When snow starts to fall and cover the world with a soft whiteness, I always imagine my mother pulling the blanket up to my chin and saying sleep tight, my dear. For is not Mother Nature doing that very thing for all the rose buds of tomorrow.

 blanket of snow

 

2. Snow signals playtime - snow forts building, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, snowball fights, the list continues . . . what's not to enjoy!

On a sled!

But, you need good clothing to make it enjoyable (See next point). Fortunately, we have the ability to buy clothing that would make our ancestors drool. When I think about the hardship they must have endured, it makes me truly thankful for Polarfleece!

A pack train makes its way through a snow storm in a wood engraving after a design by Charles Nahl, 1856. Packers and their mules encountered a variety of dangers in carrying supplies to mining camps, but winter trips were especially hazardous. When a tremendous storm caught one train between Grass Valley and Onion Valley, all but three of forty-five mules perished before the snows lifted.  California Historical Society, FN-30968 .

 

3. On a lighter note, snow revs up the economy. For all of us who rely on snow as a means to earn our keep, snow allows us to get to work. And, it's not only good for snowplow drivers, but sales rack up for everything from salt to snowblowers to candles. People head out with a list of groceries and goodies to make their homes cozy and welcoming. 

 

I did my part to innervate the economy this year by making a few larger purchases. I was craving a new pair of boots. I wanted something that lightweight, warm, waterproof and relatively nice looking. Well, I have to admit that I scored big! I bought a pair of Ugg Maxie boots and they are everything I wanted and then some!

Jen loves UGGs Maxie Boots for winter fun and work!

The second purchase was more serendipitous. I was working on my Christmas installation at the local REI store and all that was left to do was adjust the LED lights. I figured I had to wait about a half and hour, so decided to wander inside and look around a bit. Nothing serious, for I really did not need anything. But, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a pair of winter pants and they were on SALE, too! I tried them on and knew - I just knew these pants would be my favorite winter pants of all time! Not only are they lined with a thin layer of polar fleece, but the outside layer is a matte finish poly blend that is wind and water resistant! And to top it off, they look good dressed up or down. OK, ok, I'll tell you the brand. They are Mountain Hardwear Yumalina™ Pants.

Jen loves Mountain Hardwear Yumalina Pants from REII'm telling you--these are the perfect pair of winter pants! I just broke down and bought a second pair online as a back up [sheepish grin].

 

And as for me and my Winterscaping work, I can do a lot without snow, but a much larger world of opportunities open up when abundant snow is at my fingertips. It helps insulate the bottoms of Globe Ice Lanterns as they are freezing. It helps to level any ice luminary while setting it up for candles. But most importantly, it is absolutely imperative to have snow when I am making Ice Glass Shards. I need snow to make my pools. I need snow to store the ice glass until I need it. And, then I need I snow to plant the Ice Glass in to make the ice sculptures. Point blank - I need snow!

 

Wintercraft Globe Ice Lantern Balloon sitting in a Wintercraft Freezing Base surrounded by snow to insulate the bottom!

 

And BTW - the best gloves for working in the snow are my Smurfy Blues! I devoted an entire blog post to them a few years ago and I love them more than ever! 

Jen loves Smurfy Blue Gloves! 

 

4. Snow can make the world more challenging for some, so it becomes a time to reach to those who need help. I believe in the old adage, "Out of adversity comes opportunity." Maybe we shovel an elderly neighbor's driveway, help push a stranger's car out of a ditch or dig deep and teach some neighbor children how to build a quinzee hut! :)

 

5. And finally, the quintessential snow moment is when you wake up to a winter wonderland following a snowstorm. The swirling crystalline madness has settles down and left behind a blanket that has been pulled up tight, so we can walk out into the serenity of it and enjoy!  

 

Enjoy the Glow!

Jennifer Hedberg, Ice Wrangler for Wintercraft

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©Wintercraft.  All Rights Reserved. This blog post may be linked to and credited, however, the contents including all photos, videos and text may not be reproduced in any form without written permission.

 

Posted in clothing, dress for winter, Ice Glass, Snow, winter clothing, Wintercraft

Co-conspirator in Giving to Simpson Church Shelter (with photos and story!)

Posted on December 16, 2016 by Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 0 Comments

Wintercraft at Simpson Church Shelter Minneapolis, MN

Lighting the pathway for Simpson Church Shelter's Minnesota Homeless Memorial March & Service on December 15, 2016. 

 

There are moments in life that will change you forever.

 

When I was in college, I made extra money by caring for elderly women who lived nearby. A tendency for kindness which was planted in me by my parents grew while caring for these colorful and interesting, yet frail individuals. I found that connecting with them on a personal level increased the pleasure of the situation for both of us. I listened to their stories, they listened to mine. They helped me with my homework and I helped them get dressed--it was a good exchange. But, a creative field beckoned, so this turned out to be a short-term gig for me.

 

But, I am absolutely positive that the lessons learned during that period of time have impacted every level of my life. The underlying principle--kindness to others.

 

At Simpson Church Shelter in Minneapolis, I saw that principle shining from the people who run the show there. Christine Giese gave me a tour of the facility with a group of mentally challenged teens who had finished volunteering in their kitchen. It is a bare-boned, no-frills place that looks like every penny is put into the essentials--food, shelter, clothes and the little things, like shampoo, socks and underwear.

 

How did I get there? Kate Stanley of Minneapolis answered our call for suggestions of where we could do a guerrilla ice luminary installation to brighten someone's day (see Co-conspirators in Giving blog post). She suggested Simpson Church Shelter - what a marvelous idea! At this time of year, times are particularly challenging for those that must spend much of their time outside.

 

I was going to stop by - quickly - and get an ok from the managers to put in an ice luminary display for their event the next night. But, they were in the middle of the tour, so I tagged along. I learned a lot about their needs and how they exist in a constant state of scraping the bottom of the pan. And, to be honest, it helped me connect with the people who stopped and chatted with me while I was lighting and photographing the ice lanterns. I think I understood - just a tiny bit more - about their situation and the way the shelter helps them feel cared for . . . 

 

I am writing this in the morning before a snow storm which will be followed by two days of BITTER cold and I know that the shelter management will have their hands full as they will be open 24 hours a day during this weather crisis.

 

I encourage you to visit their website and see HOW YOU CAN HELP

 

What am I going to do now to help? I think I will donate some Blessing Bags. They are listed above their Wish List and Christina Giese has the secret formula of what goes into these assembled toiletry kits. I am going to email her at cgiese@simpsonhousing.org to learn how to assemble them and how many they need.  

 

Fabulous Idea: Some high school kids did a food drive where they collected 300 boxes of General Mills cereal and donated them to the shelter. Then, the students (this is the important part) contacted General Mills and asked if they would match their donation--and they did. Christina Geise said they did not have to buy cereal for a year! Think about it--General Mills and other large companies get requests for donations every day. But, when a individual or a group of individuals takes the extra step to contact them, they refocus in a really good way! Congrats to the students for the idea and the effort and a big high five to General Mills for matching the donation.

 

Enjoy the Glow!

 

Jennifer Shea Hedberg, Ice Wrangler for Wintercraft 

 

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©Wintercraft. All Rights Reserved. This blog post may be linked to and credited, however, the contents including all photos, videos and text may not be reproduced in any form without written permission.

Posted in Give an ice lantern, Ice Luminary Magic, Luminary Ice Creations, Wintercraft

Co-Conspirators in Giving Update

Posted on December 14, 2016 by Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 0 Comments

Just a few weeks ago, we decided to offer a "surprise" ice luminary display as a guerrilla act of kindness to someone in the Wintercraft world. We wanted to sprinkle some icy magic and disappear in a midwinter elf-like way so the magic would seem real. Easy-peasy fun that would touch someone's heart that needed a lift . . . But, the decision process proved to be anything but easy. While we read some delightful stories about weddings and churches, there was one that stood out. After much deliberation, I think we have a plan . . .


MN Homeless Memorial March & Service

 

We have decided to use our ice luminaries to help shine a little light on the MN Homeless Memorial March & Service tomorrow evening - December 15th. The idea came from Kate Stanley of Minneapolis, who said, "It would be such a gift to bring some of your magical ice lanterns to light up the entrance to Simpson Church for their Homeless Memorial Service which usually happens yearly on the solstice. It is an incredibly moving event which honors those who have died while homeless in Minnesota. I see it as an offering of love and light in tribute to our neighbors."      

Wonderful idea, Kate!    

Because it is not on the solstice and is, in fact, tomorrow (Thursday Dec 15), we are having to work quickly!


The march portion of the event starts downtown at the Hennepin County Government Center at 5pm and the group winds their way to Simpson Church (28th St & 1st Ave S.) for a Service of Remembrance. We have spoken to the coordinators of the event who are delighted to have the 28th Street entrance of the church sparkle! (See below for more information.)

________________________________________________

EDIT ON DEC 15th: An injury on our Wintercraft team means that I (Jennifer) will be doing the installation at the Simpson Church Shelter Thursday, Dec. 15 (today).

________________________________________________

 

Tomorrow, I will be working all day on a very large ice luminary installation at the REI store in Bloomington, so Tom, my husband, is going to take the lead on this installation. His plan is to set up the ice at the shelter during the day tomorrow and then go back to light just before the service begins.  


I would love to see how the marchers react to their church's entrance all lit up with ice and candles, so I hope I am not too exhausted from the day. I will try to get to the shelter to be able to help light and/or attend the event starting at 6:30 in the church. I will let you know how it goes . . .

Oh, and if you are like me, you are thinking how lucky you are to be able to go from your warm house to your warm car to your warm office and back. If yes, please consider going to their website and making a donation of goods, time or money to help this wonderful shelter, do just that, offer shelter to neighbors in need.

Stay warm everyone and Enjoy the glow!

 

Event Details:

Thursday, December 15, 2016 – Homeless Memorial March and Service

5:00 pm | March & Silent Vigil
Hennepin County Government Center
3rd Avenue South & 5th Street South, Minneapolis
The march will follow 5th Street South westward to Nicollet Avenue and proceed south to 28th Street.

6:30 pm | Service of Remembrance
Simpson United Methodist Church
2740 1st Avenue South, Minneapolis

7:30 pm | Community Meal
Simpson Shelter
Lower level of Simpson United Methodist Church

All are welcome!

Posted in Custom Globe Ice Lantern Installation, Globe Ice Lanterns, ice luminaries, Ice Luminary Magic, Luminary Ice Creations, Wintercraft

Sleeping on an Ice Cube

Posted on December 08, 2016 by Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 0 Comments

Wintercraft Ice Wrangler at Ice Hotel in Northern Sweden

Sleeping in a room made of ice and snow may not seem like a dream that would be shared by many, so we were surprised to learn that thousands of people visit the original Ice Hotel found north of the arctic circle in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden every year. With our daughter studying in Norway this last winter, it was a great excuse to include a trip to the original Ice Hotel while visiting her!  

 

If you ever get a chance, we recommend a visit. Although your pocketbook will take a hit, you will be much richer in experiences..

 

Tom and I managed to snap a few highlights with our phone cameras: 

 

Arriving in Kiruna, Sweden which is the northern most town and is in the province of Lappland.

After a two hour flight from Stockholm, we arrived in Kiruna, which is the northern most town of size in Sweden and is in the province of Lappland. But, the best part is that it was just 20 minutes away from Jukkasjårvi and the Ice Hotel by rented car.

 

Walking across the frozen tarmac at the airport.

Tom and I walked across the frozen tarmac at the airport, which thankfully, proved to be the coldest part of the trip.

 

The beautiful entrance to the Ice Hotel during the "Blue Hour"

The beautiful entrance to the Ice Hotel during the "Blue Hour"

 

English is the common language, so the signs are commonly in Swedish and English.

English is the common language, so the signs are all in English which we found disappointing and helpful at the same time.

 

Of course the first thing we did after arriving at the Ice Hotel was to put out a Globe Ice Lantern to freeze.

Of course, the first thing we did after arriving at the Ice Hotel was to put out a Globe Ice Lantern to freeze.

 

The main entrance of the Ice Hotel is graced by a beautiful ice egg. Please note that the ice is much prettier in person. Our phone cameras do not do them justice.

The main entrance of the Ice Hotel is graced by an enormous ice egg. Please note that the ice carvings are much more beautiful in person. Our phone cameras do not do them justice.

 

At the end of the Great Hall is a giant ice throne which is probably the most photographed section of the hotel.

At the end of the Great Hall is a giant ice throne which is probably the most photographed section of the hotel.

 

A room in the Ice Hotel filled with stacked ice chunks to resemble Cairns or Inuksuks.

A room in the Ice Hotel filled with stacked ice chunks to resemble Cairns or Inuksuit.

 

The "Elephant in the Room" Room with Tom to show scale.

The elephant in the "Elephant in the Room" was carved from "Snice" which is a mixture of snow and ice. Tom is helping out to show scale. We decided to spend the night in one of the ice rooms. It started out cold, but we quickly warmed up in the two person sleeping bag and slept quite soundly. In fact, they had to wake us up in the morning and offered us hot Lingonberry juice to start the day.

 

Beneath that great dome is the Ice Hotel Bar - Fabulous! I wish some of our photos worked out, but alas, you might have to go there and see for yourself.

Beneath that great dome is the Ice Hotel Bar - Fabulous! I wish some of our photos from inside the bar had worked out, but alas, you might have to go there and see for yourself.

 

The grounds of the Ice Hotel is limited to snow, some more snow and dog sleds taking a rest from adventure.

The Ice Hotel building is made of a mixture of snow and ice and from the outside looks relatively plain. While the ice rooms are marvelous, the grounds around the Ice Hotel are limited to large buildings made of snow, piles of snow, some more snow and then some dog sleds taking a rest from adventure.

 

But head off in any direction and there is natural and man made beauty to be found.

But head off in any direction and there is natural and man made beauty to be found. This charming building is a community church directly across the river from the Ice Hotel. 

 

 

The Ice Hotel also offers adventures large and small. We decided to try a basic lesson in ice carving. They supply a block of ice taken from the river, an ice carving chisel and a soft-headed hammer.

The Ice Hotel also offers adventures large and small. We decided to try a basic lesson in ice carving. They supply a block of ice taken from the river, an ice carving chisel and a skilled teacher. The creativity and steady hands you had to supply yourself. 

 

After 3 hours of carving, I created a leafy plant that I was hoping to hollow out and put a candle inside. Surprise - surprise. But, my time elapsed and I had to leave it solid. They put all the student's ice carvings outside to be lit by the sun.

After 3 hours of carving, I created a leafy plant-like thing that I was hoping to hollow out and put a candle inside. Surprise - surprise. But, my time elapsed and I had to leave it solid. They put all the student's ice carvings outside to be lit by the sun.

 

We arrived at the end of the season, so there were hundreds of small sculptures surrounding the carving building.

We arrived at the end of the season, so there were hundreds of small sculptures surrounding the carving building. This is just what could be captured in one photo.

 

The Ice Hotel also offers dog sledding and reindeer sledding adventures. As we have been dog sledding in the past, we decided to try driving a sled pulled by reindeer.

The Ice Hotel also offers dog sledding and reindeer sledding adventures. As we have been dog sledding in the past, we decided to try driving a sled pulled by reindeer. They start by letting you feed the reindeer.

 

The people indigenous to northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia are Sami, and are the only people allowed to own reindeer in Sweden. Here, the Sami guide brought out buckets of Reindeer Moss for us to hand feed to the reindeer.

The people indigenous to northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia are Sami, and are the only ones allowed to own reindeer in Sweden. Here, the Sami guide brought out buckets of Reindeer Moss for us to hand feed to the reindeer. They were very happy to see us. In fact, they acted much like horses when you have an apple in your hand.

 

This little beauty was new to the flock and was not tempted by Reindeer Moss. She stayed on the periphery and was bullied by the other reindeer. Again, there appeared to be a heirachy in the pack--very much like horses.

This little beauty was new to the flock and was not tempted by reindeer moss. She carefully stayed on the periphery and sadly, seemed to be bullied by the other reindeer. This heirarchy of lead and lower members of the flock is similar to packs of horses.

 

We were taken to another pen which held the trained reindeer and was told to catch our own reindeer - ha ha. That was funny.

We were taken to another pen which held the trained reindeer and were told to catch our own reindeer - ha ha. That was funny. The guides, after a good laugh at our expense, lassoed a few for us. Thank goodness. We then we told to harness our beautiful beasts to the sled.

 

Then the fun began. It was one reindeer per sled per person and out in the woods, they really took off.

Then the fun began!  I will try to paint the picture: We were being pulled through freshly fallen snow along small rivers that were opening with the spring temps. The sleds, which were hand-made from trees cut down in the woods, were pulled by REALLY big deer through a beautiful winter wonderland. All this with snow tipped mountains in the distance. Gorgeous and wildly fun! When you yipped and howled just right, the reindeer took off at a gallop! If you were not holding on, say if one were taking a photo, for instance, off you came in an instant and it took a while to catch up. Tom, who took this photo, fell off his sled and had to run for a long time. It was a big sacrifice for a photo, so please enjoy it! 

 

Outback Lapland found by reindeer sled - beautiful!

Outback Lappland experienced by reindeer sled - beautiful! 

 

After the ride, we were offered hot Lingonberry juice and reindeer sandwiches.

After the ride, we were offered hot Lingonberry juice and reindeer sandwiches. It was a quick reminder of how central the reindeer are to the Sami people. They are literally used for everything and not a bone is wasted.

 

The globe ice lantern we put out was fairly pathetic as we only had two days to be there and the temperatures were hovering just below freezing.

After all the adventures, we made our way back to the Ice Hotel to open up our Globe Ice Lantern. Two days of temperatures that were hovering just below freezing created a fairly pathetic looking lantern (yes, our standards are high!). But, we lit it up and enjoyed it on our last night there nonetheless. It was a great trip! And now that we have seen the ice marvels that can be made, we may submit our own ideas to create a future Ice Room at the Ice Hotel. From the many hundreds of people worldwide who submit, they only take 15 a year, so it's a stretch, but who know, a map maker and an Ice Wrangler might make an interesting team up there in Jukkasjårvi. We will see . . .

 

Enjoy the Glow!

-- Jennifer Shea Hedberg, The Ice Wrangler

 

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Posted in Ice Art, Ice Hotel, Ice Photography, Wintercraft

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