Jennifer Potter/for metro ottawa


Scott Harrison of Calgary carves his ice sculpture at the competition on Saturday.


Had the competition been any hotter, it might have been cause for concern at an event with so much ice all around.

The 21st annual International Ice-Carving Competition — held this weekend at Confederation Park as part of Winterlude — saw some of the world’s best ice sculptors given less than 30 hours to create frozen masterpieces from blocks of ice, as 13 solo carvers and 24 pairs teams from 13 countries competed for prizes.

Japanese carver Manabu Yoshinami won the individual competition with his carving To the Sky. Ross Baisas and Armando Baisas from the Philippines won the pairs competition for their sculpture of two warriors engaged in hand-to-hand combat entitled Tunggalian (The Encounter).

Larry MacFarlane and Tom Pitt, from Winnipeg, came second in the team competition. Pitt said his team wanted to accentuate the competition’s theme, Our Home and Native Land‚ by creating a collage of Canadian icons, framed by a giant pair of moose antlers.

"Amongst our peers it goes a long way," MacFarlane said of their second-place finish. "It shows that we can create a sculpture as good as anybody else in the world."

The carvers were provided ice blocks weighing around 300 pounds each, according to Marc Desjardins, Master of Ceremonies for the Crystal Gardens. Sculptures were scored on the basis of first impression, technical skill, design and difficulty, creativity and artistic vision.

Polish carver Michal Mizul had travelled to Ottawa from France for the competition and had a flight home this morning to get back to his full-time job, which involves making ice sculptures for restaurants, weddings and corporate events.

"This is a very big competition," he said. "It’s a chance to meet the best sculptors in the world."