What was supposed to be the world’s largest ice sculpture is now an icy pile of rubble on a Wisconsin shore.
The city of Superior’s hopes for a record-breaking ice spectacle came crashing down Tuesday morning, victim of weeks of unseasonably warm weather.
Minnesota artist “Iceman Roger” Hanson had been working on his 60 Feet six-story-tall “Lake Superior Ice Project” installation since early December, sleeping in a lakeside trailer by night and spending day after day spraying lake water onto a cable strung between two poles. As the water dripped down, it froze into fanciful shapes that inched higher every day.
Hanson, who was giving an interview to the New York Times at the moment it fell, posted a mesmerizing video of the collapse online, One of the icy pillars around the sculpture’s base caved in, followed by the millions of pounds of ice resting above it. One giant cube came to rest on top of the pile like a punctuation mark.
Hanson, a self-taught engineer, has spent years creating towering ice sculptures in his back yard in Big Lake. This winter, he approached Superior with an offer to make them something spectacular — something to draw the crowds the way the ice caves did when last year’s polar vortex froze Lake Superior solid.
Yichun, China, currently holds the world record for tallest ice sculpture, at 53 feet. Superior officials offered him $30,000 to break that record. He was aiming for 70 feet and was reportedly pushing 60 when it all came tumbling down.