Rondy Snow Sculptures, 2014

In January it is ice carving, February it’s snow sculptures.  The Fur Rondy snow carving competition starts with huge blocks of concrete colored snow.  As the sculptors work the snow seems to become whiter, although the emerging sunlight may help.  My favorite was “Arctic Bowling” although I rather like the homey cabin.  Minions seemed a favorite among some of the folks.  KNBA has a radio, when you go around back you see tubes.  More than one kid asked his parent “what are those things?”  They all knew what the London Police Call Box meant. Continue reading Rondy Snow Sculptures, 2014

They Put the Fur into Fur Rondy.

The Anchorage Fur Rendezvous (Rondy) is a festival designed to drive PETA mad.  There is the running of the reindeer, safer than running with the bulls. There are horse drawn carriages.  They’re bad, just ask New York’s new mayor.  There is a fur auction, “Where it all began” according to the banner over the auction stage.  Trappers, many of them kids, have their caches auctioned off.  A red tagged fur was trapped by someone under 15 earning pocket money or funds for school.  Along the street you can buy fur items, hats, coats, stoles, or pelts. The streets are lined … Continue reading They Put the Fur into Fur Rondy.

Anchorage Fur Rondy Sled Dog Races.

Suzi and I started going to sled dog races in the early ‘70s when we covered the All American Champion Sled Dog Race in Ely, MN for NPR.  Alaska’s George Attla, the Husila Hustler, finished second.  Other sprint race greats like Dr. Roland Lombard from Massachusetts met in Ely for that race.  In the late ‘70s we covered the Northern Minnesota sled dog circuit for KAXE and I actually got to run George Hewitt’s team in a short race.  But everyone in Minnesota tipped their hats to the granddaddy of all sprint races, the North American Championship Race, at the … Continue reading Anchorage Fur Rondy Sled Dog Races.

Gallery of Crystal Ice, 2014. Everyone Was a Winner

Here is the final set of pictures from the Anchorage Town Square Crystal Gallery of Ice competition.  Although they didn’t win you can see how they were put together from the initial sketches to the finishing by fire.  I love the chess piece, it’s transparency and finish, and the angel fish.  The ice sea turtles were a favorite for me.  The artist played around with different colored gels on the lights.  White, green or blue?  What a joy! The Next posts are scheduled for January 13 and 14.  Old New Year.  By then I will be in the Yukon, still … Continue reading Gallery of Crystal Ice, 2014. Everyone Was a Winner

Crystal Gallery of Ice, 2014 Frozen Window Pane

One of the Anchorage’s delights is the Crystal Gallery of Ice.  Ice artists carve blocks of clear ice in Town Square Park each winter for the delight of Alaskans and to be judged by both a panel of judges and by the artists themselves. This winter I was able to show up when there were blocks of ice and watched design sketching on ice, rough carving with chain saws and the final finish work.  On some of the pieces blowtorches smoothed the surface. Ten teams competed in the contest, three form China.  The next three posts will be from the … Continue reading Crystal Gallery of Ice, 2014 Frozen Window Pane

College Fjord, Glaciers in Prince William Sound.

Visitors to Anchorage who come by cruise ship dock in Whittier.  Whittier was a secret port on Prince William Sound built during World War II.  It was almost always covered with clouds so the Japanese planes could not see it most days.  It worked.  It was on no Japanese charts or maps.  One of the town’s unofficial slogans is “It’s Sh!@#ier in Whittier.” Whittier is connected to Anchorage by rail through a long tunnel that goes from Whittier to Portage Lake where Portage near Portage Glacier.  The tunnel is now open to cars and Whittier is where many people from … Continue reading College Fjord, Glaciers in Prince William Sound.

See Alaska before it melts! Portage Glacier

In 1991 I took my mother to visit the Portage Glacier an hour drive south of Anchorage.  We went to a program at the visitors’ center, heard the lecture and saw the movie on glaciers.  At the end of the performance the ranger opened the curtain behind her and there was a close up view of Portage Glacier including a lake filled with little ice burgs.   By the time Kevin was married in 2007 and we brought the wedding party to Portage Glacier the glacier was no where to be seen in the vicinity of the visitors’ center.   … Continue reading See Alaska before it melts! Portage Glacier

Mat Su Valley, Sept, 2013

We got to spend two days driving with our friends Dave and Carol Lam, one through the Matanuska-Susitna valley (MatSu) and one down Turnagain Arm to Girdwood.  We enjoyed the last days of summer and the first of fall in Anchorage and environs.  The colors up on the mountains had turned and the mountainsides were red, rust, yellow and green.  When we arrived the tops of the near mountains were clear of snow.  When we left “termination dust” the first snow dusting the mountain peaks, had arrived.  Alaska had a hard winter and a glorious summer.  When I posted pics … Continue reading Mat Su Valley, Sept, 2013