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    February 2015
    from www.CustomCabins.com
    14663 Vosburgh Rd. Ely, Minnesota 55731
    email: info@customcabins.com


    Winter in northern Minnesota is a season to which its occupants are constantly opposed. When the winter weather turns cold, residents find fault with the temperatures and claim outdoor activities are unfeasible; when the season is mild, we claim all the winter diversions we enjoy are now impossible due to the lack of snow. Are we ever comfortable? Is there ever a year where the snow has fallen to just the right height, the sun shines enough to drive our weary, winter moods away, and the temperature drops low but not so low our cars start without complaint? Though reports have yet to be confirmed, there is talk this year that Ely might have achieved the right wintery cocktail to keep most everyone happy. We have plenty of snow to groom our ski and snowmobile trails but not so much that the slush has come up on the lakes. We're one of the few fortunate geographic regions to enjoy snow this winter?Duluth is on track to make 2015 one of the top ten least snowy winters. And though our winter hasn't been particularly sunny, the ol' snow melter has managed to show itself at just the right moments when moods were truly bleak and Vitamin D supplies ran dangerously low.

    Snow and cold temperatures mold Gooseberry Falls during the winter months.

    Snow conditions and temperatures for the 2015 Ely Winter Festival were near perfect for the snow carving symposium. In previous years, snow conditions in Whiteside Park, where the carving takes place, were low enough that snow was scraped from surrounding lakes to fill the forms. The forms are 8'×8'×8' plywood cubes filled with snow and left to sit for several days, allowing the snow to settle and "set".

    The sculptures, part of the body of ephemeral art, can last long through the winter but leave with the arrival of spring. The intricacy of a sculpture design greatly affects its lifespan. Some may last a week while others stand well into March and still hold their original form. Viewing the sculptures shortly after completion allows visitors to see the pieces as the artists intended.

    The best time to view the sculptures takes place at night. The City of Ely installs temporary floodlights throughout the park to allow visitors to enjoy the pieces after dinner.

    The floodlights also provide excellent light to emphasize the texture that artists incorporate in their work. Bright sunlight or the flat light accompanying overcast conditions can often dull the details artists work so hard to produce.

    Artists from the Ely area, northern Minnesota, and parts of southern Canada participate in the event. As a symposium and not a competition, no formal prize is given for a winning sculpture. Carving teams are encouraged to mingle, share ideas, and contribute to the creative atmosphere of the event.

    Carvers are allowed to use any tools they wish as long as no motorized tools are used. Shovels, bread knives, oil filter wrenches, shovels, and dry wall & masonry tools all find a place in the completion of the sculptures.

    If you've been a little slow on making reservations for this summer (see above snail photo), it's not too late to set up a week of fishing and relaxing. With the amount of snow we've received, and are still receiving, the water levels in the area lakes should be up and ready for boating. We look forward to seeing you all in the spring.

    Custom Cabin Rentals
    14663 Vosburgh Rd.
    Ely, Minnesota 55731
    218-365-6947 or 1-800-235-6947