As a new year and a bitter cold descend on us, our focus turns away from the miseries of poor indoor heating and bad circulation to the more positive aspects of the elements: the wonderful world of winter activities. With the 2010 Winter Olympics only a month away, we’ve been pretty excited about most things ice related, but the thing that excites us most is the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, which starts today and ends in exactly one month.
Normally, the winter makes us hunch into our oversized coats and dream of more tropical settings, but this year, Shanghaiist will once again be going to the capital of Heilongjiang, the northernmost province of China, for the annual ice festival! This weekend, your (somewhat) beloved Junior Editor will be braving the extreme conditions to bring you a travelogue on the finer points of things in and around the festival. Already having a fine-tuned appreciation of ice and Harbin beer, I can tell you that excitement is in the air, at least in the immediate vicinity of my laptop. Best of all, the trip is sponsored by the lovely folks over at Ctrip, the easiest way to find the best fares in China.
To build the hype, one of our Shanghaiist photographers, Jeremy Breningstall, had a chance to capture Harbin as it bustled with activity last week in preparation for the upcoming festival. Here are some choice pictures from his trip capturing what will become a truly spectacular display of nature and craftsmanship.
Photos by Jeremy Breningstall