There is fun and excitement for all ages at the Nu Skin World of Ice. This is especially true if you believe it is fun and exciting to be cold.
I have long maintained that the only problem with the Winter Olympics is that it is held during the winter, when it’s far too cold to be doing anything outside. Ideally, Winter Olympic sports would involve relaxing by a crackling fireplace, drinking hot chocolate, and reading a John Grisham novel. But does International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge listen to me? No, and I have the restraining order to prove it.
So it’s very cold outside these days, and outside is where the Nu Skin World of Ice takes place, right at the intersection of University Avenue and Center Street in Provo. If you’re bundled up properly, and perhaps actively on fire, it actually is a pleasant winter wonderland sort of place, all kidding aside. You’ll find live music, food vendors, ice skating in the world’s smallest ice-skating rink, and some seriously impressive ice sculptures. These ice sculptures represent each of the continents of the world, except for Antarctica, because those lazy S.O.B.’s never bother to send any athletes to the Olympics. (You’d think they’d be really good at winter sports, too.) (If it weren’t for this parenthetical remark here, I would surely get at least one e-mail from someone who thinks I actually don’t know that there are no people in Antarctica.)
There’s also an ice sculpture in the shape of a castle, complete with an ice throne that you can sit on, though I don’t know why you’d want to. I sat on it, and it was cold. Also: wet and slippery. Also: The ice tastes funny. (I didn’t ask first if you were allowed to lick the ice, because I was afraid the lady would say no.)
There’s also an enormous inflatable Ronald McDonald, sitting there looking like Buddha, which is ironic, given the Buddhists’ strict code against clowns. Isn’t it funny how the biggest Olympic sponsors — McDonald’s and Budweiser — are companies that make really, really unhealthy things that no athlete should eat or drink? It’s not funny? Then why did I mention it?
Anyway, there’s a McDonald’s mini-tent, plus some other booths with other food, plus a tent with propane heaters and nothing else. We found this tent the most enjoyable.
There is an ice-carving competition today, with judging this afternoon. People from 30 different countries will use chainsaws, picks and chisels to carve ice into stuff, assuming they can get those implements past the security checkpoints, which is doubtful. The ice-carving competition is an official Olympic contest, which means my crackling fireplace idea can’t be far behind.
My visit to the World of Ice was Monday night and I wrote the column immediately, but this didn't run until Saturday. The reason was simply that other, more pressing Olympic needs arose during the week (the Canadian figure skaters, the Denver Post columnist, etc.).
Yes, I licked the ice. Why would I make up something like that?