Monday, January 19, 2009

Desert Destination: Cave Lake's Fire and Ice Show

January 17-18 were the dates of the annual Fire and Ice Show at Cave Lake near Ely, Nevada. The fire consists of a huge fireworks show and an historic black powder cannon being shot off "as often as possible." The ice covers Cave Lake and is the scene of ice fishing and ice sculptures, with a top prize of $1,000.

I think those ice fishing outnumbered those ice sculpting, and people of all ages participated in both. I asked one fisherman how thick the ice was--we've had unusually warm weather the past two weeks--and he said 12 to 14 inches. 

Here's an ice sculpture in progress. We toured about 2 1/2 hours before the quitting time, when the sculptures would be judged. This is a sculpture of a man riding a horse. Not shown in this picture is the same scene but going in the opposite direction. I'm guessing these ice sculptors were fairly experienced, bringing plywood to keep off the wind. But the weather was really pleasant--the ice sculptors just wished there was more snow.

This scene has a bed/recliner, fireplace, a tree, and a couple other things. We'll revisit this scene at the end of the post and see what they've accomplished in 45 minutes.

This is a rendering of the Hoover Dam. A huge group came up from Las Vegas to work on it. They said if they won the top prize, it would pay for their hotel rooms next year. The Fire and Ice Show has been in the Top 100 Events for both 2008 and 2009.

We wondered why paths were shoveled out on the ice, and before long we got our answer--the ATV-towed wagon. We couldn't resist a ride around the lake. 

Some of the ice sculptures were still in the blobby phase. 

Others were pretty much done, like this steam locomotive.

Here's a mouse watching a cat catching a mouse and some catnip in front of it. The sculptors are busy shoveling snow around their creation.

An ice cream sundae. yum.

I think this is the doughboy. Or maybe the monster in Ghostbusters crashing through skyscrapers. I was fascinated by the process of making the ice sculptures. Buckets, shovels, sleds, heaters (to warm up water), ice augers (to get lake water), chairs, ladders, and concrete finishing tools were the most popular tools to make the ice creations.

Here are some cute penguins, part of a bigger sea scene.

The Hoover Dam is getting bigger. The columns were starting to tilt a little, but they just kept patching them up.

The tree is looking a lot more like a tree that we saw in the first scene.

Walking around could be a little slippery.

Next year we'll have to bring a sled--kids loved being pulled around. And people were sledding off the hills all around the lake, playing ice bowling, and generally having a great time. It was a wonderful day to be out and about. Now if I can just convince a bunch of friends and family to join me in ice sculpting next winter, maybe we can try for that prize!

Here's a video from last year's Fire and Ice Show from another blog:


The Incredible Woody said...

That looks like SO much fun!! Good luck building your team for next year!

Caroline said...

The things you find to do--just amazing!! Desert Boy
is a very lucky young man.

Loved the fireworks.


Sarah said...

Filed under cool and unusual things to do in Nevada during wintertime!


Watcher said...

Thanks for the great photos. I've only been to Cave Lake SP in spring or summer (last visit was mtn biking last August.) Always wondered what it looked like in winter.


Carrizo said...

You have done fantastic work when photographing these. Very nice.

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