The 49th annual Stowe Winter Carnival will kick off this weekend. One of the main attractions of the festival is the towns’ ice carving competition.

“The best thing anyone can say in the ice sculpture business is you’re the artist,” says reigning champion Murray Long. “[We] Take a idea and run with it. We can let our imaginations go wild.”

“[Ice Sculpturing is an] art and [a] science,” says longtime professional ice carver Mark Crouthamel. “And the science part is heavy. [The ice] weighs a lot and our bodies can only do so much. But even on the most challenging days when I was exhausted and when I finally did the artistic side, that’s when the magic came to me.”

But carvers say the real magic is passing that love down to others.

“That to me is magic,” Crouthamel says. “I do the classes and culinary schools and it’s amazing what they came up with a little bit of guidance. It’s nice that the magic is contiguous and gets passed on.”

Ice sculptors say they use “ice glue” to put together different blocks of ice.

“Ice glue… is just water!” Crouthamel exclaims. “It’s two hydrogen and oxygen. Two thin flat surfaces of ice one must be cold, and you put water in between them and they stick together.”

Twenty-five frozen masterpieces will be on full display around the village.

“It’s temporary art and then it’s gone just like us we’re temporary in this world so it’s fun making it happen.”

“They’re gonna melt at some point but they love [to make the sculptures] in the moment,” says Huntly Armbruster, the event coordinator of the Stowe winter carnival. “They defy the law of physics and they do it because of their love.”

Competitors in the 22nd Ice Carving Competition will face off at the Alchemist Brewery in Stowe on Saturday, January 20. The event is free for the public and will start at 11am. The competitions will feature an amateur competition, a professional carving competitions, and a pro elimination speed carving competition. The competitions will run through 6pm.

An Awards Party will then be held at Rimrocks Tavern where folks can meet and greet the Professional Ice Carvers. The party will start at 7pm and run to 9pm.