"It is cold. It is funny being from Hawaii working with ice. I really enjoy it. You have one shot. If you take ice off you can't put it back on. You have to be creative, you have to be right on. Stan does all the rough cuts, I jump in and do the finishing, so we work together. You must be very strong. I work out before the event. You are on your feet standing for 14 hours, for a couple of days. The ice is very heavy; a block is 300 pounds. You have to know what you are doing."
Weekend before last they were in Old Forge sculpting for Winterfest. There they created an eagle, a deer, a wolf baying at the moon, a hummingbird, a butterfly and a stork. They took last weekend off in preparation for the trip.
In the Arctic, Kolonko explained, ice is harvested directly from lakes: "It is very pure water like Skaneateles. If Skaneateles Lake was very dark and cold and froze it could be harvested for sculpting. It will not happen, as the water needs to be quite cold for some time. In Fairbanks it gets cold in September, typically below freezing and as much as 60 to 70 degrees below zero through April."
You may go online and watch Kolonko and Uyehara sculpt through a live webcam. Google Ice Alaska and scroll to multi-block competition.
"Our piece is called Cold Corral. If you go to that site look for seahorses. You can see our site; you can see how cold it is," Uyehara said. "The last competition was down to 50 below. We are joining blocks that are 6,000 pounds; you fuse them together when you put your sculptures together."
What's next after Alaska? "We were invited to cut for the Olympics winter ice carving competition as a sport by the National Association of Ice Carving," Uyehara said. "The first three teams from that event next year will be in the cut for the Olympic trials. The Olympics will be in Vancouver, Canada in 2010. To me that is kind of neat. There are competitions all over the world. It is becoming a huge sport."