Here in the UK, many of us are getting sick of the sight of snow and ice – this is far from the case in north west China, where sculptors from around the world have turned the frosty weather into an art form at the 24th annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival.
I’ve always been a fan of the traditional winter weather – from the gorgeous effect it has on the landscape to giving me the excuse to wrap up in my festive finery. But even I could do with a break from the ice right now, after slipping up on my way to the office a couple of times! So I was pleasantly surprised to see how the city of Harbin is getting through its harsh winter by celebrating the natural beauty of the white stuff in this fantastic yearly event.
YouTube channel AllVideoVault has posted a video of this year’s festivities:
The Ice and Snow Festival draws millions of tourists each year to take in the magnificent ice sculptures, castles and mazes, which are made from an estimated 120 thousand cubic metres of snow and 160 thousand cubic metres of ice. With the frozen Songhua River winding its way through the city, it’s not as if ice is in short supply in Harbin, and I think it’s a great idea to put the elements to use in such a positive way. As one of the world’s premier ice events, the festival can also be relied on to attract the cream of ice sculptors, from countries as diverse as Russia, Denmark and the United States.
So while the idea of taking a long-haul flight to an even colder destination might not be the first choice for UK holidaymakers right now, it’s inspiring to see a city getting something so positive out of the deep freeze. We haven’t been the only ones suffering from the freeze after all, with China Central Television reporting that Harbin experienced temperatures as low as minus 34 Celcius this winter – and we’re complaining about minus seven!
Anyone who fancies braving the cold can visit the festival throughout the rest of the month; right up until it closes in early February, when the ice starts to melt. An event that makes use of nature and even clears up after itself – what’s not to love?