China Unknown: Breaking the Ice

More than 2,000 ice sculptures are created each year for China’s Harbin Ice and Snow World, but where does all the ice come from and how does it get there? The where is easy. It comes from the frozen Songhua river five kilometers away, but the how is more complicated.

Every year, 300 local farmers temporary change professions and become ice cutters, a grueling and dangerous job that begins at 3:00 am. They cut large blocks of ice from the frozen river and drag them to a truck that is waiting to deliver the literal building blocks of the festival to the waiting sculptors.

The finished result is a sight to see, but if you want to make it there in time for this year’s festival, you’ll have to hurry as the Harbin Ice and Snow World closes in early March.

Get ready to be “in the know” about Harbin’s ice cutters.

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(Source: CGTN America,
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