Stay Tuned!  Exciting News to Come! 

12 days to Showtime

Published in Ralph Bolt's Blog
16 February 2014

2-12-14  Minus, 28 Fahrenheit:  We've finally started getting our cold ice-making temps.  We've been at or flirting with 30 below for several nights.  Minus 34 on the way to the gym the other day.

I got a text from Dawn Bates at the park late Thursday night that the Aurora was visible so Bonnie and I drove out to my viewing site north of town in the Eldorado creek valley.  The lights were quite faint to the naked eye but with the camera set at 15-second exposure, we got some decent images.  Opening the shutter for that long makes the surroundings seem like daytime but it was actually quite dark.  The half moon gave enough light at that exposure to light up the snow and trees.  Although not visible to the eye, when we moved the pics to the computer we could make out the faint red glow often associated with the aurora.  Both the red and green are from electrons hitting oxygen atoms in the ionospheric atmosphere but the green is from atoms roughly 60 miles up while the red is from atoms around 200 miles up.  We're hoping for more spectacular shows.

Work on the Chapel dome has been slowed by the cold weather.  Their ice blocks are 20 to 30 degrees below zero and when they attempt to glue them in place with 32-degree water, it shatters the block.  So they must wait for daytime temps to get closer to zero which hasn't happened for several days.

On the way over to the dome, I stopped for better pics of the snow owl and snow pig. They're really quite nice. This is the first year Ice Alaska will try sculpting snow.  This year will be an exhibition during the week after the Multi-Block are completed.  Next year  

Nearby, Mr. An and one of his crew were just beginning work on our big sponsor sign where sponsor logos and or names are etched in ice as another way to visibly recognize our sponsors.

There are nearly 50 sculptures and ice toys in the Kids Park now and roughly 30 more are planned.  Some of them take a decidedly oriental flavor, a result, no doubt, of the perspective of the Chinese and Mongolian sculptors.

Speaking of which, the Mongolians are working on one of my favorite toys--an ice bowl.  The bowl is a couple feet deep and will have a rounded ice rim.  A kid inside cannot usually get out without assistance.  If he attempts to grip the rim, his gloved hand slides off and he skids back to the bottom of the bowl.  Great lesson on dependence on parents for little kids.

Vitaly Lednev is now working on his tenth creation for the kids park.  This one will be a stage coach.  It took some linguistic gymnastics for me to finally understand what the carving would be.  But we each eventually found the words that give me a good idea of what he has planned.  We'll see.

As I left for the day, work on the big slides was continuing.  When the ice is in place, the Chinese team will turn on the buried lights and it will be a beautiful sight.

Tucked in around the corner from the slide, a large stegosaurus was watching the action.

More later.
Ralph Bolt