31st Annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival


As the northeastern United States is hit by its first big winter storm and New Yorkers try to figure out what to do with all the food they’ve stocked up on, the city of Harbin (哈尔滨 / 哈爾濱) in northeastern China is in the middle of its renowned annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival (哈尔滨国际冰雪节 /哈爾濱國際冰雪節). which runs from January 5 – February 25, 2015.

The Atlantic‘s In Focus photoblog and Want China Times shows us this year’s creations, which are as usual, stunning.   We think we’re going to need to put more effort into our snowmen.

Works designed and sculpted by artisans glisten and delight, but this 10-minute video from China Radio International takes us behind the glamor to show us that creating this winter wonder of the world is actually quite labor intensive:

For those of you interested in knowing more about Harbin, National Geographic Channel’s Lost in China series, introduces some of the history and culture of this city which has been influenced by its proximity to Russia.  Hosted by the Jeff and Peter Hutchens, two brothers who lived in Harbin as toddlers, the episode (in English with Chinese subtitles) have a good time looking at how the city embraces the cold.  Here’s a breakdown of its segments, for those who might not be able to sit through the whole video:

1:40 – Introduction to Harbin

5:00 – Winter swimming (冬泳)

12:54 – Exploring the Russian influence

17:19 – Visit with an ice sculptor

26:20 – Visiting an ice bar

33:17 – Local life

41:25 – A visit to the Ice and Snow World theme park

Photo by Thomas Galvez, via Flickr, licensed through Creative Commons