CALGARY -- Ice carvers from all over the world are in Lake Louise this week for an invitation only competition.

For three days, 10 teams will create elaborate sculptures made only with ice.

This year, Canada, Latvia, Russia, the Philippines, Japan, the U.K., France, Hong Kong, and the U.S. are represented.

Having competed here since 2004, Calgarian Julian Lee says he's honoured to be part of this year's event. But conditions are proving to be challenging as the thermometer is hovering around -30 C.  Ideally, Lee would like to see it closer to -15 C.

“Once it hits that temperature, -22 C, -23 C, a little drop of water … will go ping, ping, ping, ping, and then it breaks your ice," he said.

Scott Harrison is a teacher in Calgary but is wearing his ice carving hat for this competition. He says teams have 14 hours to carve on Wednesday and Thursday, but only six hours on Friday, when the three-day competition wraps up. 

“The whole plan is to have our base and everything stacked up (Wednesday), partially carved out (Thursday), finish up as much of the carving as possible and then the six hours on Friday is for finishing and cleaning delicate touches, all that kind of stuff," he said.

Ross Baisas is half of Team Philippines and said he has to change gloves often when it’s so cold to keep his hands warm, but he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

“Who wants to go outside and do these things?” said Baisas.  “Most of the people, being in the extreme condition, they don’t go there because they have to, they go there because they like what they do, they love what they do. For us it’s a passion.”

While carvers are working with ice at Lake Louise, in Banff, other artists are making giant sculptures out of snow during the town’s Snow Days.

Learn more about Ice Magic and Snow Days online.