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Issue Date: January 2008

Chain Saws on Ice

Lisa Wakeland
For Aaron Costic, the third time was a charm. After 18 hours spent whittling down 2,400 pounds of ice, his sculpture, “Momentum,” won the gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics.

The master ice carver is no stranger to the games, earning a bronze medal in individual competition at Nagano and placing fourth in a team event in Salt Lake City. As successful as he was in the past, Costic headed to Torino with only gold on his mind. “I wasn’t disappointed with the other ones, but this one wouldn’t feel like a victory,” he says.

The ice in “Momentum” begins as a coarse ball and gradually gives way to a shining star. This transformation is how Costic sees all things, including his art.

“It’s a compilation of going through life and seeing something that catches my eye,” he says. “It starts in your head as a rough idea, and when you’re done mulling it around in your mind, it explodes for the public to see.”

Costic discovered his passion for ice art during a stint in a culinary program 17 years ago, and began carving competitively. Eventually his enthusiasm for the frozen medium took him around the world, making stops at competitions from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Asahikawa, Japan.

When he’s not globe-trotting, Costic can be found at his company, Elegant Ice Creations. The Broadview Heights-based business creates everything from Rodin’s“Thinker” to ice luges for college parties. They offer carving workshops once a year and make appearances at winter festivals in Northeast Ohio. Costic even lends his skills teaching an art class at the University of Akron.

Requests for sculptures filter in throughout the year, but he takes advantage of down time. “If we’re slow, we just work into the future,” he says, which for Costic and his crew at Elegant Ice Creations, means its time to prepare for the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.

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