Triumph Winterfest exhibit opens Friday in Vail

Ice sculptor Paul Wertin stands in front of his latest work, called "Arches," part of Triumph Winterfest. The exhibit opens Friday.

VAIL —Art in Public Places opens the second ice sculpture installation of the seventh annual Triumph Winterfest on Friday at 5 p.m. on the Gore Creek Promenade in Vail Village. “Arches” by local artist Paul Wertin will feature 36,000 pounds of sculpted ice that will be illuminated in the evenings by controllable LED lights.

Influenced by Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s environmental public art installations, Wertin is transforming the landscape along the Gore Creek Promenade to create an interactive experience for all ages to enjoy.

“Having studied Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s ‘Running Fence,’ I was immediately impacted by this art installation that was created in conjunction with the landscape,” Wertin said.

“Running Fence,” a 24-and-a-half-mile-long serpentine white nylon fabric fence was temporarily erected in Northern California in 1976. It was said that the artists were inspired in part by the fencing demarcating the Continental Divide in Colorado.

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“Arches” will allow one to travel through large-scaled undulating walls of ice that fade into arches at the creek bank. One hundred and twenty blocks of ice are being carved on site for the ice and light installation. Wertin’s 70-foot-long and 7-foot-tall serpentine ice wall will wind its way on the Gore Creek Promenade. There will be three arches created in close proximity to the creek itself. Wertin has designed a lighting effect that will change colors throughout the running wall and remain static on the arches. Similar to Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s installations, “Arches” will leave no trace on the landscape once the ice melts.

This is Wertin’s second solo appearance at the Triumph Winterfest. Wertin’s 2013 installation, “AlpenGLOW,” consisted of 19 ice sculptures. The sculptures fused geometric and organic shapes with intricate lighting effects to great acclaim. He also was integral in the installation of last season’s popular Logan Ice Theater, a first-of-its-kind outdoor cinematic film experience projected on ice.

The first installation of Triumph Winterfest, “Logan Luminescence” by Thomas Barlow, which opened Dec. 22, included 70 cylindrical ice lanterns in varying dimensions in Slifer Square by the Covered Bridge.

Information about the seventh annual Triumph Winterfest may be found at or contact Molly Eppard, Art in Public Places coordinator, at or 970-479-2344.

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