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Cool competition this weekend

Gentlemen, start your chain saws.

It’s that time of year again. The state line Embassy Suites Hotel is holding its sixth annual Hot Ice Sculpture Competition this weekend, and Lake Tahoe residents and visitors are encouraged to view professional chefs and ice carvers as they turn big blocks of ice into whatever their hearts’ desire.

“It’s a great event. It’s a lot of fun,” said Knud Svendsen, director of sales and marketing for Embassy Suites. “It’s a great way to kick off the winter season.”



The event is held Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and … Whoa! Wait a second. Saturday and Sunday? The San Francisco 49ers are playing Saturday. What genius scheduled this event during the NFL playoffs?

Don’t worry, Svendsen says, football will be playing inside Turtles, the hotel’s sports bar. People can watch both.



“People can just stop by, catch all the football games and the Hot Ice Competition at the same time,” Svendsen said.

Participants in the competition – coming from South Lake Tahoe, Reno, Las Vegas, San Francisco and as far away as Chicago – will be using chain saws, mallets and hand tools. In previous years, participants have used the 300-pound blocks of ice to create statues of a variety of subjects, including horses, eagles, Tahoe Tessy and Atlas, the Greek god who holds up the Earth.

“They’re only limited by their imagination,” Svendsen said.

Individual carvers battle it out on Saturday, and a team competition will be held Sunday. The artists are competing for more than $7,000 in cash prizes.

In addition to viewing the ice sculpting, visitors will be able to enter raffles, where they could win free passes to ski resorts, restaurants, as well as two- and three-night stays at Embassy Suites’ all over the West.

“We’ve probably got some of the best giveaways you’ll ever see,” Svendsen said.

The money raised is used to pay for the event, and whatever is left over is donated to the Lake Tahoe Women’s Center to help in the fight against spousal abuse.

Svendsen said usually about 200 to 300 people attend the event at a time; about 500 to 1,000 attend overall during the course of the weekend.

Last year, the event raised $500 for the Lake Tahoe Women’s Center, and this year resort officials are targeting $750 to $1,000 as the goal.

The South Lake Tahoe event is supported by the National Ice Carvers Association and is considered a premier showcase for professional ice carvers and chefs.

“You’d be very impressed,” Svendsen said. “Every year it’s gotten better and better.”

After the competition, the sculptures are to be illuminated and displayed at the entrance of Embassy Suites – for a limited time only.

“It just depends on the weather. They’ll stay up as long as they can,” he said. “If it gets sunny, they’ll melt away. If it’s cold, they’ll stay up as long as it’s cold.”

breakout

What: Embassy Suites’ Hot Ice Sculpture Competition

When: Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Where: Embassy Suites Lake Tahoe, 4130 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

Cost: Free

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