Chiseling a New Tradition: Ice Sculptors Compete in Detroit Lakes

The MN S'Nice Competition has been part of Polar Fest for two years

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — As snow swirled through the air in Detroit Lakes, some artists kept warm by lighting a torch, slicing through fresh ice, and crafting together a frozen treasure.

“It is so much fun just to sit here and watch them do their work,” said Scott Walz, the organizer of the MN Sn’Ice ice sculpting competition held in Detroit Lakes.

If you asked a young Nick Lensing what he’d be doing in fifteen years, taking part in an ice sculpting contest would not be too high on his list.

“Growing up, I never really had an artistic bone in my body. Stick figures were a challenge for me and to be able to pull something off like this, where people actually recognize what you’re making is really fulfilling,” Lensing, an ice sculptor from Rochester, said.

Even though Lensing’s initial artistic pursuits were ice–cold, something changed when he first learned how to sculpt in culinary school.

“It just really interests me, so I just stuck with it, carved up different people and it just kind of evolved,” said Lensing.

For the past few years, Lensing and his counterparts have traveled across the region, including Detroit Lakes to put their skills to the test.

“There’s just something about ice that people love. We could cut a block of ice out of the lake and set it on the sidewalk would come sit on it and take their picture, but when you see it sculpted with these guys’ artistic skills, it’s really something to see,” Walz said.

The competition is part of Polar Fest, a series of winter-themed events hosted by the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“Sometimes we stay in our house, stay in our office, we get in our own little circle, and this gets you out of your circle, a little bit out of your comfort zone, maybe. But to see your neighbors outside and enjoy your time, maybe you’re standing around watching an event or participating in an event, but you get to be together with everyone,” said Carrie Johnston, the President of the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber.

This year, Lensing and his teammate decided to carve a piece in honor of one of his friend’s grandfathers who recently passed away.

“He was kind of a cowboy, owned a ranch, so it was kind of a tribute to him,” Lensing said.

Even though ice melts, Lensing and the other artists want their work to freeze and stay solid in people’s minds. (Nat)

Five teams started sculpting Friday morning at 10 a.m.

The winning team takes home a grand prize of $1500.

Categories: Local News, Minnesota News