Ice Alaska began anew as a non profit organization at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds in 2018. It began with a vision and with people who believed passionately enough to not want that vision to fade. These were a group of resilient leaders motivated to get through challenges to achieve their goals. One of their goals was to encourage people to get involved and organized.
Today Ice Alaska, home of the World Ice Art Championships, is flourishing. Hundreds of volunteers from around the world donate their talents to make each year a breathtaking celebration of ice, art and winter.
There is a central framework of administrative personnel to provide direction and purpose, led by Natalie, the only paid individual in the organization. She is the Chief Operation Officer for Ice Alaska and the main decision-maker along with the board. She oversees the daily operations of Ice Alaska and is responsible for maintaining momentum.
All of the remaining management teams are made up by volunteers. Several groups come to mind and Ice Alaska could not function without them. One is the Logistics team, Jasper, Jerry, Tom and Ross. They literally are in charge of moving snow and ice around to make the incredible venue for our yearly event.
Then there is Sculptor Support led by Joan. Joan and her Aide (right hand), Eva, work constantly to ensure the sculptors have a positive carving experience, including preparing ribbons and certificates for all those participating.
A very important position is the Volunteer Coordinator role. James, DeeDee and Holly all share this position. Finding volunteers to fill all the time slots for ticketing, gift shop and security is a monumental undertaking
There is an Electrical Division led by David and John, who make more than just the electrical stuff work, they are also amazing handy-men when other things break. Brittany is amazing and very creative with lighting.
Website, social media and marketing is a crucial part of any organization and this is a team effort with Don, Tim, Lisa and Lee Ellen. Don & Tim have been the work-horses behind our fantastic new website this season. Lisa helps with the website and the social media platforms to ensure daily information is being released and Lee Ellen is this year’s event photographer, capturing all the special moments during the competitions and around the park. She also writes the news reports.
One volunteer who has stepped up this year is Sue McGrew. She was a carver last year and this year she volunteered to head up Boot Camp, the name for the group who arrives as early as December to help construct a park with “Wow” factor from a blank piece of land at the fair ground. Sue also is responsible for bringing warm coffee to all the sculptors as they work out in the frigid conditions. You can see her pulling a sled loaded with coffee mugs and cups around to all the sites.
These administrative personnel all belong in the “control room” of Ice Alaska. They make everything happen. They make our yearly event into the amazing, breathtaking extravaganza it is. But they couldn’t do their jobs without the many many volunteers who take the time to come help work a shift or two, sometimes for days in a row. Thank you, volunteers. There would be no Ice Alaska without your help.
There is one last major component to the Ice Alaska organization, a crucial part in our “control room”. It is the Board of Ice Alaska, the governing body who is able to make binding decisions for the day to day operations.
Thank you to everyone who had the vision; those who believed in Ice Alaska and wanted to see it exist as the unparalleled winter jubilee it is and will continue to be.