The 20th Harbin Snow Carving Festival

Harbin Travel Blog

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Arc de Truimph, made of Snow

My warm room and the long sleep somehow revitalized me when I woke up at 8. I’ve said my goodbyes to Henry last night as he would be out today to ski with friends at a nearby resort, so I headed out to transfer to my 30Yuan a night, single room near the University entrance. This inn was owned by a Chinese couple who still didn’t speak English (but could write numbers), yet looked more than delightful to have me for the next 2 nights.

After a few minutes rest, I hit the city to visit the Snow Sculpture festival at Sun Island.

On the bridge to the Snow Carving festival, with the Olympic mascot
As I walked to the entrance gate with my 120 Yuan ticket, I started to feel how walking in solidly frozen turf can numb your feet in a matter of minutes. I was praying for it to get numb fast though so I wouldn’t have too feel the painful needles on my feet in the next hour or so in the park.

Snow carvings of children, and animals already lined the bridge leading to the main park. Mascots for the Beijing Olympics also walk the grounds in case you’d want a free photo with them. Somehow I couldn’t believe I was actually here, a few months ago I was giggling at the sight of the photos from last year, imagining how it’d be like to actually have my pictures taken with these amazing giant snow structures.

Each year, the snow festival hosts a snow sculpting competition that draws teams from around the world. Almost all the snow carvings showcased non-Chinese designs, having those of angels, heroes, art designers, mini cathedrals, pine trees, abstract art, houses and a whole lot more.

Warm Chicken Welcome
I stopped to gaze in awe at every artwork, noticing how intricately carved all the pieces were by the artists who started working on them since November.


Across a small frozen lake north of the competition sculptures sat the largest snow sculpture ever created : over 30 meters high and over 250 meters long. The frozen lake right in front of the enormous structure, called the Ten Thousand Person Skating Arena during the festival hosts many different snow activities. Huskies wait to pull sleighs for visitors across the ice, snow skis, and a snow slide for those who cant get enough of the cold. My two hours of walking on the park seemed as though i was walking on prosthetics not being able to feel both my feet. I took the cab and headed to the Dao Li St., a very European-esque shopping district.

Frozen Songhua River where all the ice blocks are cut out for the festival.
Cafes and galleries lined the streets which were fashionable and pedestrian friendly. Souveneir shops sold Chinese and Russian artwork from the combs to teacups to the infamous Russian dols, chocolates and Siberian furs which was a local commodity. A few blocks away is the Church of St. Sophia,  a Russian Orthodox Church that had somehow weathered The Cultural Revolution. Its imposingly sat on a Europeanesque square, its emerald green onion dome contrasting its burnt sienna colored body.  Parallel to Daoli St. Is Zhongsan Daije, another cobble-stoned pedestrian street, lined with Russian architectured buildings. Ice sculptures and and Ice bars lined the busy street every 2 blocks. A few Russian Ice bars were present too, just in case you'd want to heat up with vodka shots. At the end of the street was the Flood Control Monument where you can get a view of the deeply frozen Songhua River. Adults and children skated and played games on makeshift sleds and other ice-traversing vehicles on the frozen river. There was even horseback riding around a snow-lined track with venders selling varied cold-weather drinks and spicy barbecued specialties Again, all sorts of ice activities were made available to any cold loving thing here.

TonyaCurrier says:
looks awesome, this is going to have to go on my travel wish list! :)
Posted on: Feb 06, 2008
reikunboy says:
they have a similar festival in hokkaido in Japan. I think it starts next week.I've always wanted to go but my wife has always said it will be too cold so I've never been
Posted on: Feb 05, 2008
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Arc de Truimph, made of Snow
Arc de Truimph, made of Snow
On the bridge to the Snow Carving …
On the bridge to the Snow Carving…
Warm Chicken Welcome
Warm Chicken Welcome
Frozen Songhua River where all the…
Frozen Songhua River where all th…
Surviving -20C... daytime temp
Surviving -20C... daytime temp
Learn from this local... BUNDLE UP!
Learn from this local... BUNDLE UP!
If you wanna give your feet a brea…
If you wanna give your feet a bre…
Oh when will I ever melt???
"Oh when will I ever melt???"
Still ok at -20. hehe
Still ok at -20. hehe
Never thought Id survive this one…
Never thought I'd survive this on…
Snow Skis for rent too!
Snow Ski's for rent too!
Huskies waiting to pull the sleigh…
Huskies waiting to pull the sleig…
The only non snow carving on the p…
The only non snow carving on the …
photo by: mabby