The Chill Challenge

Despite sunny and mild weather conditions Tuesday, snow and ice was still flying on the plaza in front West Virginia Northern Community College’s B&O Building in downtown Wheeling.

Using a large assortment of chisels, grinders and saws, nearly a dozen students sculpted large blocks of ice into a variety of subjects, including a mermaid, West Virginia University logo, snowflake and anchor as part of the school’s garde manger culinary arts class.

“What we are trying to achieve today is basically a familiarization (with ice carving) – yesterday we spent learning how to do templates and the theoretical part of ice carving and what applications there are … today is the practical side where they come out here and do a carving which they drew out yesterday,” said instructor Chris Kefauver.

While ice carving was traditionally just away to keep food cold when displayed, Kefauver said in recent times ice carving has grown more into a “decorative” skill.

Ice carving is a creative aspect of the class that is quite popular with the students every year, Kefauver said. He said the finished sculptures will be positioned in front of the main entrance of the B&O Building until Mother Nature melts them away.

Student Joanne Luppe said she enrolled in the class because it was something she has always wanted to do and it looked very interesting – specifically the ice carving.

“It’s very challenging … it’s not as easy as it looks. … I’m just looking forward to getting it finished,” said Luppe, while sculpting a large butterfly.

“It’s very rewarding to see what I’ve been able to do and accomplish, but I’ve discovered that I don’t like chainsaws at all,” she added.

Student Ryan Butler of Wheeling said he has waited to participate in the ice carving section of the class. He said he has been catering for over a decade but has never had the chance to work with ice sculptures until now.