Running Wild With Jen Mathiesen: Crystal Cabin Fever

On certain days there are live professional ice carving competitions.

Jen Mathiesen , Web Editor

   Are you feeling blue this winter? Does being trapped indoors every day drive you crazy? So this winter may not be as cold as those in previous years, but it is definitely not summer. So to combat my “cabin fever,” I fittingly took my adventure to the 10th annual Crystal Cabin Fever, an opportunity for people to get out and enjoy winter.

   Crystal Cabin Fever is located at Sculpted Ice Works in Lakeville, Pa., which is only about an hour away from campus. The event takes place during the month of February, Thursday through Monday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost per adult is $15.

   The event is cool, literally and figuratively. Workers used hundreds of thousands of pounds of ice to create several magnificent sculptures. These sculptures are not tiny, either – the majority tower over people and span the entire building. Each year, the event has a different theme, with sculptures in the shape of creatures under the sea and dinosaurs to even famous structures from around the world.

   This season’s theme is “The Best of 10 Years,” featuring favorite sculptures of past years.

   Sculptures include the Eiffel Tower, dinosaurs, a pirate ship ice slide, penguins, the Colosseum and many others. Not only are the sculptures appealing to the eye; some are fully interactive. For example, the full size pirate ship is a 50 foot ice slide that kids and adults can enjoy. There are also structures built out of ice, including a saloon complete with an ice bar with wine tasting from Antler Ridge Winery, a jail cell and a café offering hot chocolate, root beer floats and other tasty treats.

   When you think you’ve seen it all, step outside to find much more excitement. Live ice carving demonstrations occur daily, and on certain days there are professional ice carving competitions. I was fortunate to experience one of these competitions, and it was neat to watch the carvers use several kinds of power tools to take a solid block of ice and turn it into a beautiful work of art within minutes. I still don’t understand how they did it. They are undeniably gifted souls.

   There are delicious food options, such as walking tacos and hot dogs. I enjoyed the “squealing pig,” which was smoked on-site pork barbecue over macaroni and cheese. If you need to warm up, there is an outdoor campfire where you can beat the chill and relax.

   Just next door is a factory museum tour, which shows the history of ice harvesting. You can see artists harvesting ice, working on sculptures as well as the technology that enables artists to make logos and other design work. We watched while one of the workers created a logo on a block of ice. After that, we proceeded back through the factory to the gift shop. When we finished browsing we went to check out the ice sculptures one more time before we left, even after seeing them once they were still just as cool, pun intended.

   You may have to travel some back country roads to reach this destination, but this isolated location makes the trip that much better. Remember that this is a winter event involving ice, so be sure to dress warmly.

   Crystal Cabin Fever offers remarkably detailed ice sculptures and structures that make you feel like you’re in an imaginary world. Not only does this local business put on its own ice event, workers also produce numerous ice sculptures for various ice festivals and events throughout the Northeast.

   This event is special and not your everyday adventure, so be sure to head out to Lakeville to Crystal Cabin Fever before the ice melts!

A 50 foot ice slide is open for all ages to enjoy.
A 50 foot ice slide is open for all ages to enjoy.
One of the head carvers for Sculpted Ice Works was a part of the professional ice carving competition. He created a beautiful angel fish within minutes.
One of the head carvers for Sculpted Ice Works was a part of the professional ice carving competition. He created a beautiful angel fish within minutes.
On certain days there are live professional ice carving competitions.
On certain days there are live professional ice carving competitions.