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North Pole's Christmas-themed ice park


North Pole’s own ice park has been seeing regular attendance in its 12th season… in spite of a squeeze on donations to the non-profit that runs “Christmas in Ice.” The holiday-themed ice park hosts its own carving competition and a New Year’s Eve fireworks party. 


This family from Seattle spent most of their time at the park on the 100-foot-long slide made out of ice. Linda Hilliard, a board member of “Christmas in Ice,” says the slide is not just for kids.

“I think we had a 90-year-old lady go down. People don’t realize when they come in that it’s for adults. They’re giggling when they leave as much as the kids are.”

The non-profit park is in its 12th Season, embracing the Christmas theme with it’s own carving competition. It is open for five, and sometimes six weeks through December and into the first part of January … depending on the weather. They plan to be open Christmas Day and late for fireworks on the last day of the year.

Hilliard says expenses are high, but the community has been generous.

“Every non-profit is feeling the crunch of bigger donors reducing the dollars they can give away. But the in-kind donations have just been poured on to us, this year.”

Sound from carvers.

Carvers from Harbin, China add the finishing touches on the front wall of a maze made of ice. Christmas In Ice board members, however, know there might come a time when international carvers won’t travel here. So they are mentoring new carvers this year with two workshops this Sunday afternoon.

“We’re teaching our youth, from ages 13 and up, how to carve. People with artistic ability may not realize ice is a wonderful medium they can use.”

Mentoring new carvers elevates the connection to the community, she says, and keeps the Interior as Alaska’s Ice-carving capital.  “Christmas in Ice” has a competition, yes, and is a non-profit, yes. But it strives to distinguish itself from that other non-profit ice-carving competition in Fairbanks, “Ice Alaska.”

“We are separate, and people don’t realize that. Its run entirely by volunteers, entirely by donations. But it is a North Pole Event.

Oh and a reminder. Hilliard says she’s surprised how many folks don’t dress warmly enough for an outdoor winter park full of ice.

Christmas in Ice can be found between Santa Claus House and the reindeer barn at 101 St. Nicholas Drive in North Pole. is offering two sessions of Ice Carving workshops this Sunday, December 23rd from 11:30 to 1:00 p.m. and from 1:30 to 3:30.