Ice sculpture at Ice Magic Festival in Banff National Park


Posted on January 28, 2018 by True North Rockies


If you don’t know, there is yet another reason to visit stunning Lake Louise, Alberta in winter! Every year in January, as part of Banff Lake Louise’s Snow Days Festival, the world-class ice carving competition, Ice Magic, takes place at the edge of Lake Louise, in front of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

For more than 20 years, this spectacular event has attracted the most talented ice artists from around the world. For three days – 8am to 10pm – for a total of 34 hours, the carvers skillfully combine punishing physicality with precision artistry in the cold Canadian Rockies climate. Each year the festival changes the theme; this year’s theme being All In The Wild. The 2019 Ice Magic Festival started January 17th and runs through the 27th, but the sculptures  (while subject to the elements) will last until the season begins to change and the ice melts. Without a doubt the best time to view the sculptures. And more than half the excitement is watching the carvers compete… So don’t miss it.

Ten teams of two are invited to compete, using their own style and creativity to transform 15 blocks of ice into epic masterpieces.


 A Few Tips To Get The Most Out Of The Festival

1. The Ice Magic Festival is free to any guest of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise or other accommodation in Lake Louise.  Those staying at hotels in Banff can pay a discounted rate for access to the Festival.

Experience the the wonder of the Ice Magic Festival in Lake Louise, Alberta.


2. During the peak weekends, the best time to view the sculptures is early in the morning before 10 am or in the evening after 5pm. This will insure you won’t get caught in the crowds. However the sculptures are still worth a visit after the competition is over. We are particularly impressed when they are lit up in the evening.

Photo Credit: Banff Lake Louise Tourism
This sculpture, Moonlight Meeting, took home the top spot at the 2018 Ice Magic Festival in Lake Louise. It was sculpted by the American-Canadian team of Ben Rand and Scott Harrison, and also took the carver's choice award.


3. Parking can be a challenge in the upper parking lot during the festival but  free shuttles are offered during January 19, 20, 26 and 27th from 10:30am to 6pm. The shuttles run between Samson Mall and the Upper Lake Louise parking area.

4. Absolutely do not forget to take your camera.

SnowDays Events In Banff from January 17th to 27th, 2019

Occurring at the same time as the Ice Magic Festival in Lake Louise, you’ll have plenty of snow creations to discover in the town of Banff. check out the carvings and experience numerous special events, such as Guided Moonlight Walks, Mountain Madness Relay and Starlight Dinner.

Photo Credit: Banff Lake Louise Tourism
The annual SnowDays celebration is a highlight of the winter season in Banff National Park;  enjoy free  events centered around 10 massive snow sculptures in downtown Banff and two at Mt Norquay.


Are you ready to make memories?  See more #WeLoveWinter moments by searching the hashtag on Instagram or Twitter. Happy travels!

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
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