Ninth-annual Vail Winterfest Ice Theater continues screening family-friendly flicks
VAIL — The Triumph Winterfest Ice Theater returned to Vail this winter, premiering on Dec. 23. The theater was conceived and introduced by Art in Public Places during the 2012-13 winter season to celebrate Vail’s 50th anniversary and was inspired by summertime outdoor cinemas.
Ice sculptor Paul Wertin has transformed the creekside park with seating and a theater screen to create this free, family-friendly cinematic experience in ice. Lounge on oversized ice chairs and a couch while enjoying the scenic Gore Creek during the day and film projections on a screen created in ice during the evening.
The theater, which featured the 1966 animated holiday favorite “The Grinch” during the week of Christmas, will now show footage from Warren Miller athlete Chris Anthony and videography of Vail Mountain by Vail Resorts. Projections begins daily at dusk and go until 9:30 p.m. The ice sculptures will be on view until the ice melts.
Making a theater
Sculptors Paul Wertin, Tim Wertin, Erik Herren and Jay Beacham worked for seven days carving 65 blocks of ice to create the installation, with the ice weighing in at 19,000 pounds. The goal this season was to create a complete theater experience.
“We went with a variety of oversized ‘Alice in Wonderland’ chairs to create a sense of playfulness and fun for kids and adults alike,” Paul Wertin said.
“Once the seating elements started taking form, we decided to look towards the Art Deco style for enhancing the screen itself,” said Molly Eppard, Art in Public Places coordinator. “Paul’s detailed carving at the base and edges of the screen reflect the theater marquees during this period of artistic styles.
“The theater has been a great success for photo opportunities during both the day and night. It may be one of our most successful winter installations, with its truly interactive nature, in the nine years we have been partnering with Triumph Partners.”
The patrons at adjacent restaurants have also enjoyed the free entertainment.
“It has been hard to get guests to their tables,” said Sam Ferraro, manager of Sweet Basil restaurant. “As they walk past the windows of Sweet Basil, they want to stop to enjoy the ice theater.”
Triumph Partners’ continued support of the visual arts in the Vail Valley is exemplified through its charitable donations to Art in Public Places to enable this popular free and family-friendly outdoor snow and ice sculpture exhibition, which will continue through 2016.