Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ice sculptors continue tradition

‘Ice is Nice’ has built sculptures in Sun Valley since 2005

Express Staff Writer

Sculptor Danny Spangler works on carving an ice sculpture in front of a live audience on Saturday night at Sun Valley Resort. Photo by Willy Cook

For the ninth straight year, the ice sculptors of the company Ice is Nice were honing their craft last week at Sun Valley Resort, carving seven structures for the guests to enjoy.
On Friday, Dec. 20, Danny Spangler and Jason Waldron built an ice throne and a sculpture with the Sun Valley logo. For both pieces, Spangler manufactured 300-pound blocks of ice to be sculpted at the resort. While carving the sculptures, Spangler said his chainsaw is the most-used tool.
“Usually, 80-85 percent of the work involves a chainsaw to remove the bulk of the ice and begin to create the profile,” Spangler said. “Once you have the profile, you have to round it, make it three-dimensional, get depth and shadowing.”
Spangler, who has made ice sculptures for 21 years, said there are new tools that have allowed him to do the same work in 10 seconds that used to take him 10 minutes.
Both Spangler and Waldron turned their work into a performance on Saturday night, when they carved out a Christmas tree in front of the resort’s guests. They each said they don’t get nervous during their performance, and maintain a keen attention to the fine points.

When mistakes are made while making an ice sculpture, it’s easy to make an addition that fixes the project and still comes off as aesthetically pleasing.”
Jason Waldron
Ice sculptor

“This work definitely requires a close attention to detail,” Spangler said. “Sometimes when I work on a piece for a buffet, I get a little [uptight], but it smooths out once it gets there.”
Spangler annually enters the World Ice Carving competitions, where he has received bronze for abstract sculptures four years in a row. He and Waldron won first place for their sculptures at last year’s Winter Carnival in McCall.
Waldron does a variety of sculpture work in addition to ice, as he has experience with wood, metal and clay. He said that metal is the most difficult to manipulate and shape, while clay is the easiest.
“I really enjoy the work that goes into ice sculpting,” Waldron said. “When mistakes are made while making an ice sculpture, it’s easy to make an addition that fixes the project and still comes off as aesthetically pleasing.”
Spangler said he became interested when he tried ice sculpting while he was working as a chef, and found that he was a natural. Since then, he’s made his passion a full-time job.
“I really love what I do, and I love my job,” he said. “I enjoyed being a chef, but that ran its course.”
    He added that Sun Valley is one of his favorite places to work, and hopes to continue his work at the resort year after year.
    “This is always an adventure working here,” Spangler said. “I love working for Sun Valley, and these are some of the pieces I enjoy building the most.”
Eric Avissar: eavissar@mtexpress.com

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