Canmore Winter Carnival – Feb 10 to 20/12

Canmore’s third annual Winter Carnival is underway! We headed to Main Street Saturday morning, to watch the ice sculptors wield their tools of the trade and see what else was happening.

Frozen coffee bar
Beamer's Coffee Bar offered free coffee to all the folks who stopped by to watch the ice carving competition.

A centerpiece of the carnival is the snow track on Main Street. Starting a 6 o’clock Thursday evening, an enthusiastic crew hauled in 850 cubic meters of snow to pack and groom, creating a one meter thick, two block long cross-country ski track. Over the course of the 10-day carnival, this snow track is the site of cross-country ski races, recreational skiing, kid & mutt races and more.

Canmore main street
A couple blocks of Canmore's main street are covered with packed snow and turned into a short cross-country ski course. School groups, dog sled pulls, kids' competitions and the finish line for a winter triathlon all take advantage of this temporary facility. And anyone wanting to try cross-country skiing can borrow equipment and give it a try - for free!

One of the main events on Saturday was the ice carving competion, held at the Civic Centre Plaza. It looked to us like about 8 teams were taking part in this year’s competition. Spectators were offered free coffee from the coffee bar (carved from ice, of course). We enjoyed the chance to see what kind of tools the sculptors use: everything from chisel and hammer to power tools (including chainsaws) and clothes irons). The GeoKids particularly liked the rapidly emerging ice dragon and the carving of a bear on a log.

Ice carving
Early stages - the sculptor still has sketches attached to one of the blocks of ice.
Ice carving
Using power tools, the sculptor is forming the rough shape of the ice dragon.

Ice carving
In just about an hour, the head is nicely shaped and details are emerging.
Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade I - chisels and other carving tools are some of the hand tools used by the ice sculptors
Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade II - power tools being used by the ice sculptors today include drills and chainsaws
Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade III - Irons and chainsaws? Like geocachers, it seems ice sculptors use a range of tools in the creative process!

We look forward to checking next week’s local paper to see who was crowned the champion ice carver.

Also of interest to our GeoKids was the chance to visit the Biathlon Alberta Demonstration Trailer, where they lined up to test their aim with a lightweight air rifle. Judging by the ever-growing line, this activity is very popular with the kids.

Biathon demo trailer
Youngest GeoKid took a turn testing his aim with a lightweight biathlon air rifle. Lots of kids were lined up for this activity!

Here‘s a complete schedule of Canmore Winter Carnival activities. And if you can’t make it in person, the Downtown Canmore Webcam offers a remote look at all the festivities.

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