Kevin Lewis has been carving since he was a kid in the Comox Valley.
He’s been in Fort St. John of late, at the High on Ice Winter Festival with fellow carver Ryan Cook, who’s known for competing all over in carving competitions and appearing on TV shows such as Carver Kings.
Lewis got his first chainsaw at age 11 and has been logging since he was a teenager. He has been chainsaw carving since 1996.
He and Cook are honoured to represent Team B.C. in the National Ice-Carving Championships as part of the annual Winterlude festival in Ottawa and Gatineau.
“Ice is a very beautiful medium,” says Cook. “It’s a very fun, expensive habit…. You can create anything.”
The two have known each other for some time, and Lewis says they work together really well. Their task was in 20 hours to create an Olympic and Paralympic-themed ice sculpture, and they are hoping to garner votes from all over B.C. between Feb. 11 and 20 to best the competition from across Canada.
“Ryan came up with an amazing idea,” says Lewis.
Cook’s concept took inspiration from Sidney Crosby’s ‘golden goal’ in Vancouver at the 2010 Olympics.
“It was such a great moment,” Cook says.
For the Paralympics, he chose sledge hockey player Billy Bridges, and as part of their research, the two contacted Bridges, who was excited about the idea.
The two made a 3D carving that included themes such as a maple leaf next to Crosby. All of these ideas Cook had mapped out in advance, so the two could work their way quickly through the project.
“Ryan had every step written out,” Lewis says.
The project was no small task. The pair worked with 15 blocks of ice, each weighing about 300 pounds, that they had to set into place. They had to battle both time and the elements. The weather, in particular, turned out to be a challenge and cut into the time they had to work on the second and final day. They’d been challenged with high winds, then had to watch the temperature rise from -16C to 4C, which meant they couldn’t quite finish all of the details on the sculpture. The weather also forced a location change.
As much fun as the ice can be, Cook adds it can prove difficult.
“It’s a very unforgiving medium,” he says.
A few details aside, the two are pleased with their work. Now, Lewis and Cook are hoping people in the province show their spirit at a time when it’s needed and get online to support their creation.
“It all comes down to voting,” says Cook. “I want to show everybody that B.C. is ‘B.C. Strong.’”
To see the sculptures and vote, see www.canada.ca/winterlude