9th annual Winter Ice Festival held in Cripple Creek

CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. — Rows of cars are heading out into the mountains for a very cool event this week.

Cripple Creek is hosting their Winter Ice Festival, and some skilled artists are being brought in to “wow” the crowd.

For nine years, thousands of people have come out for the event, and even if they’ve seen it before, the sculptures never cease to amaze them.

“It brings more people to town these two weekends than any other weekend in the wintertime for sure,” Eric Rose, President of the Cripple Creek Chamber of Commerce, said. “It’s one of the biggest events in Southern Colorado this time of year.”

This year the groups Sub-Zero Hand Crafted Ice Sculptures and World Class Ice Sculptures are teaming up to create the intricate pieces.

“Our sculpture is about half finished. We have the train, that’s 65 blocks. Then the miner with the donkey is another 16 blocks,” artist Jeff Kaiser said.

And the sculptures are already impressing the crowd, even though some of the pieces aren’t finished yet.

“We’re building a mountain in the back where the train is going to look like it’s coming out,” Kaiser said. “There’s going to be some sheep up on there and maybe an eagle.”

But what’s different about this event, is that you can actually go inside these masterpieces.

“I do interactive sculptures because I want people to touch the ice and feel it. Once you’re inside that train, you don’t realize how big it is until you get up inside of it,” Kaiser said.

“What they do is unbelievable because it’s not as easy as they make it look,” Mark Bennett of Cañon City said.

“It just comes down to the little details and everything and it’s hard to catch that when you’re not standing right there next to it,” Billie Bennett said.

“It’s magical, you know? There’s just something about ice that is different than wood or clay or bronze,” Kaiser said. “People are just fascinated with it and they appreciate it.”

The ice festival continues next weekend, February 20 and 21. Along with the ice sculptures, there’s live music, a beer garden and martini luge, plus tons of food and gifts.

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