JACKSON — The principals of the self-described “premier ice sculpting company” in New Hampshire took home the top two honors Monday in the 25th annual Ice Carving Competition at The Wentworth Inn.
A panel of judges picked Dennis Hickey and Dave Soha of Manchester-based Ice Breakers as first and second respectively, while Murray Long placed third.
In three hours, Hickey, who in addition to his commercial ice-carving is a chef at The Courville at Nashua-Aynsley, also won the people’s choice award, which added another $100 to the $500 the judges deemed he deserved for creating “Metamorphosis.”
Although Hickey acknowledged that it lacked the chrysalis phase, the sculpture featured a caterpillar nibbling on a maple sugar leaf, while its future self, which looked like a monarch butterfly, took flight.
Hickey said he was thrilled to have won, but quickly added that the event is more about camaraderie than competition, and that the venue is one he and many of his fellow ice carvers have been coming back to for decades.
By his math, Hickey has competed at The Wentworth some 20 times, won seven times, placed second five times and had a scattering of third places thrown in.
Hickey said he and Soha got into ice carving through the American Culinary Federation, which carved ice to promote and support various charities but also, more simply, because “ice sculptures are a chef kind of thing anyway and we just took it to the next level.”
Asked about how Ice Breakers is doing, he said business “is insane,” adding that “we have to turn away people.”
He was thrilled that Soha joined him on the podium.
“Ice Breakers really cleaned up here today,” he said.
Eleanor Koeppel, The Wentworth’s owner and general manager, thanked the carvers and the several dozen spectators who came to watch them work on what was a milestone anniversary.
“Twenty-five years is a long-standing tradition,” she said.