Champion ice carver: 'It's the most ridiculous medium'

COOS BAY, Ore. - Chris Foltz hasn't always been into carving ice.

"I met this guy once when I was a kid when I was like 16, 17 and then never really gave it much thought," he said, "and then even in school, I didn't even take the classes because I wanted to do the sugar work instead."

Foltz was working as a chef at a banquet eight years ago when they needed an ice sculpture.

Foltz hadn't done it before, but gave it a shot.

Now he's a world champion.

"A lot of practice, thinking about it all the time and carve just about anything," he said. "Melons, vegetables, ice, wood - doesn't matter, just kept with it."

After taking first place in a sculpting competition in British Columbia, Foltz will now captain a team at the world championships in Fairbanks, Alaska, at the end of February.

"When we go to Fairbanks, it's different," he said. "The blocks are about the size of cars and stuff like that, so then you're looking at dismantling the block and then assembling it and then reassembly again."

Of everything he carves, Foltz said ice is the most unpredicatable.

"It's the most ridiculous medium because you don't - it can be so strong at some times," Foltz said. "I mean just insanely strong, it can withstand almost anything, and then other times just a small sound and you can hear the acoustics go through and find a fracture and just blow the whole thing up."