This year’s St Paul Winter Carnival was cold.  No way around the fact.  It was 7 degrees when we wandered around Rice Park looking at the Ice Sculptures and then headed over to the State Fair Grounds to see the Snow Sculptures.

But I am getting ahead of myself.  A part of the carnival is the Securian Frozen 5k and Half Marathon. I almost ran it last year but decided not too.  However, I did run it this year and was faced with -11 air temperatures on race morning.  After a mishap with the cold a few years ago, race directors setup a system to help ensure the safety of participants and volunteers.  Due to the cold temperatures, the race was shortened to a 1/4 marathon distance or 6.55 miles.  You can read my full review over at Team Cross Runs.  Just for a point of reference, the air temp has to drop below -25 before they actually cancel the race!  The picture at right is a runner in my club after the race.

Yes, I’m a little crazy but there were over 600 people who actually ran the half-marathon and more were in the 5k.  We enjoyed this year’s sculptures.  Last year (pictures) we went before they were completed but it was still amazing to see the intricate detail that went into each piece of ice/snow art.  We were also able to talk a little bit with some of the artists.  It is amazing to watch them use a chain saw for large cuts and then  switch to a Dremel for fine tuning.  In the ice sculpting they even used blowtorches to help seal two pieces of ice together.  It was fascinating to watch.

This year we arrived in the evening after the awards had been announced so we got to see them in all their glory.  It also made it a little less personal and more like an art gallery.  I think overall this year’s sculptures were better than last, though I’m not an expert on fine ice/snow art!!

Here are pictures of the winning sculptures:

Fountain of Unicorns (zoomed in)

Hormel McSwine & Friends

You can see a full album of my pictures here.  There is so much to do during the Winter Carnival that it could really consume all of your weekend.  We enjoyed the parts that we saw the last two years and maybe we’ll take part in other events in the future.  Right now a few hours in the cold is good enough for one weekend!!

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