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rhonda konicki

rhonda konicki

Tuesday, 16 February 2016 03:17

Feb 18 - Volunteer Meeting and Potluck

Our final Volunteers potluck/meeting is this Thursday,

February 18 

6:30 p.m.

at the Ice Park.  

Monday, 15 February 2016 07:28

Building Ice Park Week 7

This is it!  The big push is on to finish the Alaska Airlines 2016 Kids Ice Park in time for opening on Monday February 22nd.  My weekly walk through the Park and there is so much activity. 

Dedicated to Felix Pedro

On the Pond, this weekend was a very large harvest.  Remember that first week's article, January 2nd, the crew were harvesting blocks of ice not much more than 20 inches thick and mostly white ice?  Well, they returned to that patch of pond, which has been growing premium clear blue ice. This weekend they cut and pulled the ice to be used for the Alaska Digital Printing - 2016 Single Block Classic, that begins February 29th.  In just 6 short weeks, without any accumulated snow to insulate and slow down freezing, some beautiful 27in (68cm) thick blocks were pulled from the pond!  And the white layer is less than 2in (5cm). 

Premium Ice 27" thick pulled for competition.

In the Kids Park, most of the slides are built.  The Fred Meyer Mega Slides are finished and the landing area is groomed.  Two small kids crawling mazes are finished, and this week work has begun on the annual large ice maze.  The University Fire Department stopped by this past week and sprayed the water for the annual Puppy Pond Ice Rink. 

Thursday, the Sourdough Cabin was dedicated in honor of Felix Pedro and his hometown, our Sister City, Fanano Italy.  Another large ice house located by the front entrance, I understand is for sale. 

In addition to the structures, many volunteers are arriving to create and repair sunshades, run lighting, inventorying and testing equipment, plowing the exhibit lots and walkways, working behind the scenes to make this event happen.    The newly renamed Ethel Stonemason Blvd is receiving many wonderful sculptures to dress the place up.

Small Kids Maze

Puppy Pond Ice Rink under construction

Ice House is for Sale


Sunday, 07 February 2016 22:25

Building Ice Park Week 6

WOW!  What a difference a week makes!

The Alaska Airlines 2016 Kids Ice Park is open in two weeks.  This week it is really starting to look like a park.  International and Local sculptors have been working round the clock to build some fantastic looking kids art and slides. 

We have two cabins this year.  The small cabin with the sourdough, and a larger house commemorating Felix Pedro and his birth place of Fanano Italy.  The Ice chapel is nearing completion.  A small kids maze has been constructed.  As noted last week, the Fred Meyer Mega Slide is complete. 


Other work being done, the lots for the Alaska Digital Printing 2016 Single Block Classic, were plowed out yesterday.  I found the Lighting Team busy inventorying supplies and color-gel-packs for the exhibit art.  Speaking of the Single Block competition, it begins Monday February 29th and we have a full field! Yep, you read that right - all 50 lots have been reserved by sculptors for the competition.  It's going to be big and exciting!

Harvest news: Connie reported in that after measuring the ice thickness they decided to delay harvest one more week to allow for more growth.  This next ice harvest will be blocks destined for the Single Block Competition.  So they want a good thickness for the sculptors to work with. 

Best regards and stay warm and safe out there!

Ross Hanson busy plowing out Single Block Sites

Ice Chapel is roughed out

Sourdough Cabin 


Sunday, 31 January 2016 07:47

Building Ice Park Week 5

The pace has really picked up at the Ice Park this week.  The Park opens in just 3 1/2 weeks on February 22, with the Alaska Airlines Kids Ice Park.  The Fred Meyer Mega Slide is finished, as are the Tula and Martha Commemorative Slides.  Meanwhile, the smaller slides are forming up, the Alyeska Ice Puppy Iceskating Rink has been roughed out, and the Ice Cabin is nearly finished.  

Ice Cabin under construction
Miss. Cloe gives us her wave of approval for our annual kid's train
One of the many kids slides.  Notice how this one makes good use of the white ice to define the mammoth

I'm pleased to report that as of today our Sculptor Support department has counted 116 Artists competing in the two main events.  Our Park holds 50 Single Block lots and 20 Multi Block lots, and as of today every lot will be taken.  

Mr. Mark Chapin, a regular competitor in both Single and Multi Block competitions, is taking on the role of managing the Verizon Youth Classic this year.  Mr. Sawamura, Shinichi has already arrived and he is our Director of the newly formed Sculptor Training and Mentorship program.

Sawamura, Shinichi has arrived at Ice Alaska.  Preparing his work station

The pond ice continues to thicken nicely.  Today the harvesting crew was pulling out blocks that were averaging a full 30in (76cm) thick, with 22 - 24in (55 - 60cm) of clear blue ice.  

Weekly ice harvesting continues on schedule 
Ice continues to grow today blocks are averaging a full 30" thick with 22" - 24" of clear ice
Thursday, 28 January 2016 14:22

Testing a blog

Testing display

Thursday, 28 January 2016 14:15


Just a few more weeks and we open the Ice Alaska gates and let the party begin!

The next Volunteer Meeting and Potluck 

Thursday, February 4

Time 6:30

Location: Ice Park

Sunday, 24 January 2016 03:48

Building Ice Park Week 4

A very bright and sunny day to work in the park today.  We are four weeks away from opening the park, artists have arrived from China, Mongolia, Russia and alongside some local Fairbanks talent, the 2016 Kids Ice Park is beginning to take shape. 

As mentioned a few weeks ago, the 2016 Ice Alaska theme is "Drive On!"  It's exciting to see how our artists interpret that theme into the interactive kids sculptures and ice slides.  So far we have camels and race cars and the annual Train Depot is being roughed out. 

Meanwhile, back on ponds, harvesting continues.  Today the ice appears to be nearly 28" (71cm) thick with about 20" (50cm) being clear ice. 

Looks like little Formula One Racers

Looks like we're going to have a camel drive in the park this year

Soon to be the annual Train Depot

I do believe we have a space ship getting ready to take off

Not sure yet what this is, but it's going to be big!

How thick is the ice today?  About 28 inches.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 02:57


Good evening Volunteers

We're on the home stretch to Ice Alaska Park opening!
This week we have another Volunteer meeting and Park update.  
Location: Ice Park
Date: Thursday, January 21
Time 6:30.
See you there, and have an Ice Day!
Rhonda Konicki
Volunteer, Photography & Digital Productions Team
Sunday, 17 January 2016 06:54

2016 Building Ice Park Week 3

We're three weeks into the new year, and I'm happy to report that with the cooler temperatures, the ice is starting to get a little thicker.  My weekly stop by the Ice Park found the Harvesting Crew out working the back pond.  Eight hardy warm dressed folks working at about -13F (-25C), two of them operating forklifts making quick work of that plot of ice.  Like the ice that was pulled two weeks ago, this ice is destined for the Kids Park.  The fresh plot left behind will freeze over and the next round of harvesting should produce some nice clear blue competition ice. 

Ice Harvesting Crew working the back pond

Chainsaw is mounted in a custom skid for precise cutting of blocks

Hazards of pulling ice in sub-zero weather.  When the blocks are pulled from the water and meet the  cooler air, sometimes fractures form in the blocks.

Meanwhile, many of those thinner blocks we reported on a couple weeks ago have been moved into the kids park area for working into slides and maze building.  The giant ice slides are forming up nicely.  The carvers have completed several runs and the light strips are being threaded through the rails. 

Lighting strips are threaded through the rails of the ice slides

Tools of the train, a carver's chainsaw

Surprise!  You never know what might have floated into the pond before freezing.  

Sunday, 10 January 2016 04:03

2016 Ice Park Build Week 2

Remember last week the crew harvested a small section of pond?  This week work is beginning and some of that white ice is being laid as the foundation for the giant ice slides.  The An family from China, An, Di, An, Zhe, An, Qi Feng and An, Qi Ling, also from China, Wei, Tian Zuo, were found today beginning the work on the giant slides. 

Meanwhile, I discovered Keven Laughlin inside the office,  presenting his visions for some interactive and climbable kids ice works.  Can't wait to see what he's dreamed up for us this year!

As I exited the park I paused by the pond to see that crews have already sectioned off harvest plots and plowed snow off the surface to encourage deeper freezing.  There will be much more harvesting over the coming weeks, as the Ice Harvest Crew works that pond, like a farmer works a field, developing and producing the beautiful clear ice we've grown to appreciate over the years. 

First Harvest Ice is used for slides and foundations

Work begins on the giant ice slides

An, Di contours the side-wall of a slide

Blocks of ice are cut into sections and staged for placement

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