CHEK Upside: Courtenay carver representing B.C. in national ice sculpture contest

Two B.C. ice carvers are emulating two moments from the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic games for an upcoming contest.

Comox Valley’s Kevin Lewis and Vancouver’s Ryan Cook have collaborated on a variety of wooden chainsaw carving creations over the past 10 years.

But it wasn’t until five years ago that Cook introduced Lewis to the world of ice carving at Fort St. John’s High on Ice Winter Festival.

“It’s such a big festival and a lot of people want to come here but when you’re a new carver you’ve got to pay your dues,” says Cook.

“So I paid my dues here, my mentor Chris Foltz brought me up here and then Kevin paid his dues and now we just kind of work together.”

Working together is exactly what the pair are doing for Winterlude, a national ice carving competition where all 10 provinces are represented in an online vote.

This year, sculptors had to create an Olympic and Paralympic-themed ice sculpture, with Lewis and Cook electing to emulate two moments from the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic games.

“We came up with the golden moment which was Sidney Crosby scoring that winning goal and Billy Bridges when he scored for the Paralympics,” says Cook.

Creating the sculpture in the allotted 20 hours proved to be difficult as a result of above seasonal temperatures in Fort St. John, the city where the B.C. portion of the event was held.

Both Cook and Lewis agreed that the sculpture was one of the toughest pieces they’ve ever done.

“For sure, when you’re carving and it’s all slushy and it’s running it’s like what the heck is going on,” says Lewis.

“It’s disheartening too right, like we put six months of our lives into planning this and you can’t fight the elements of life right,” adds Cook.

Now the contest is in the voting phase, but win or lose the duo have been overwhelmed by the support of British Columbians.

“It’s great having all the support from B.C. and Canada for this piece,” says Lewis.

“It’s a pretty cool feeling, we’re pretty stoked,” says Cook.

To vote for the sculpture, visit the Winterlude contest page.

Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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