Let it snow: China builds "world's largest" ice Santa

HARBIN, China Wed Dec 24, 2008 10:01pm IST

1 of 14. People visit a giant Santa Claus ice sculpture for the upcoming 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province December 24, 2008. China's freezing northern city of Harbin is building what organisers say is the world's largest Santa Claus ice sculpture.

Credit: Reuters/Sheng Li

Related Video

Video

Santa Claus goes icy

Wed, Dec 24 2008

Related Topics

Inside the Peshawar school

Inside the Peshawar school

The aftermath inside the Pakistan school where at least 132 students and nine staff members were killed by Taliban gunmen.  Pictures 

HARBIN, China (Reuters) - China's freezing northern city of Harbin is building what organizers say is the world's largest Santa Claus ice sculpture.

The giant Father Christmas, 160 meters (525 ft) long and 24 meters high, centers on an enormous face of Father Christmas, complete with flowing beard and hat.

Its huge size and unseasonably warm temperatures have made the job especially challenging, said Tang Guangjun, one of the sculptors.

"It is even bigger and higher than last year's, and more difficult. The weather swings between warm and cold, so it becomes very wet and slippery on the ice. It is very dangerous for us," he told Reuters Television.

Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province on the edge of Siberia, is one of China's coldest places. Winter temperatures can drop to below minus 35 degrees Celsius (- 31 F).

Every year the city plays host to a world-renowned ice festival. But the effects of global warming are taking a toll as the snow and ice now melt more rapidly than in the past.

Organizers said they had to artificially make snow for the Santa Claus sculpture.

Still, the sculpture has attracted thousands of tourists from all over the country who want to enjoy a white Christmas despite worries over the economic downturn.

Many said such tourism could help to boost the economy.

"It can stimulate the economy and consumption. When people feel happier, they will want to spend more, so it will lift the economy of the city and even the country," said Li Qingsheng, a tourist from Beijing.

Officials in Harbin remained optimistic about the tourist outlook for the winter.

An estimated 800,000 tourists, 90 per cent of them Chinese, were expected to visit the ice festival, said Jia Yan, director of the local tourism bureau.

The festival traditionally runs from mid-December to early February.

(Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Ben Blanchard)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

26/11 Accused

26/11 Accused

Pakistan to appeal bail for Mumbai attack "mastermind".  Full Article 

Android For cars

Android For cars

Exclusive: Google aiming to go straight into car with next Android – sources.  Full Article 

Mass Stabbing

Mass Stabbing

Eight children killed in Australia in reported mass stabbing.  Full Article 

In Distress

In Distress

Former SpiceJet owner leading rescue plan: reports.  Full Article 

PM's Moves

PM's Moves

Modi moves in to speed up $300 billion stuck projects.  Full Article 

Losing Popularity

Losing Popularity

Dalai Lama's star waning in the West, China official says.  Full Article 

Tis' The Season

Tis' The Season

Stars around the world wish you Happy Holidays.  Video 

Cyber Warfare

Cyber Warfare

For N.Korea's cyber army, long-term target may be telecoms, utility grids.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage