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(Ice) bear spotted in Fernie

Local wood carver in training Dave Richards is the artist behind the ice sculpture
Fernie local Dave Richards with his latest carving creation - an ice bear carved from ice from Crowsnest Pass Lake. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

There are bears back in Fernie – or at least one bear, though this one won’t be sniffing around for food because it’s made of ice and guarding Red Tree Lodge in Fernie.

Carved by Fernie local Dave Richards, the icy ursine will be around until it melts – and with temperatures well below zero in the Elk Valley this week, that could be for a short while yet.

“Ice is fun - it cuts quick and fast, with a great end result. It’s a little disheartening that it all melts away but it’s the ultimate eco-friendly art,” said Richards, who has been learning how to carve wood sculptures and occasionally ice for the last few years, and is apprenticing as a wood carver part-time with Michael Penny of Fernie Log Carving in West Fernie.

This bear is carved from 50cm-thick ice sourced from Crowsnest Pass Lake.

“It took probably about three hours to get the 700-pound block out of the lake, and then it took about 4-5 hours to carve it,” he said.

“I’ve done a few ice sculptures. I just use the same technique (as wood carving). Not sure if I’m supposed to, but it worked.”

The icy bear will be out the front of Red Tree Lodge in Fernie until warmer weather makes him go away.

READ MORE: Off to bed: Elk Valley bear reports drop off
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