Each year Lake Louise hosts the Ice Magic Festival. The main event is held at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Banff National Park. The hotel sits at the edge of the beautiful frozen lake that is back dropped by the grandeur of Victoria mountain and it’s glacier.
Teams of professional ice carvers come from around the world to participate. They sculpt blocks of ice into formations that are based on the theme chosen for that year. The 2011 theme is “Magical Madness,” consisting of sculptures such as fairies, dragons and other mythical creatures.
The carving teams have 34 hours over a period of 3 days in which to transform 15 blocks of ice into their masterpiece sculptures which must reach 7 feet in height. Each block of ice weighs a staggering 300 pounds. It takes a lot of physical strength and effort to position the blocks.
It’s fascinating to watch the ice carvers during the festival. If you can’t make it, the sculptures can be viewed for several weeks afterward. Or for as long as the temperature keeps cold enough to stop them from melting.
Down the hill from the lake there is a Little Chippers Festival. This is held on the same weekend as Ice Magic at the Samson Mall in the village of Lake Louise. The kids get to try ice carving and learn the science behind it. There are several other activities for kids and families, including face painting and crafts. All the activities are free.
There is a free shuttle that runs during the Ice Magic Festival. It will take you from the Samson Mall to the Fairmont Chateau hotel every 30 minutes on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am to 5:30pm.