Lonely Planet Writer

Chinese artists have built a church made of snow on a ski slope in Norway

If you’re off skiing near the village of Beitostølen in Norway any time soon, you may be surprised to see a dramatic sculpture of a church carved into the snow there. A group of artists from the Chinese city of Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province, constructed a 14-metre-high and 11-metre-wide church from the ice, and it’s certainly a stunning work of art.

Chinese artists have built an ice church on a Norwegian ski slope. Image: Ørn E. Borgen / NTB scanpix

Beitostølen is located in the Øystre Slidre municipality in Oppland, Norway, and it only has a couple of hundred residents. Representatives from the area previously travelled to China hoping to attract more tourists to the Norwegian slopes. The ice church is a result of this initiative, and it’s a preview of a larger ice sculpture festival that will be held at Beitøstolen next year.

Harbin hosts the annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, and some of its artists travelled to Norway to construct the church from the ice and snow there. It is a stunning addition to the village of Beitøstolen, which is a popular tourist destination situated near the Jotunheimen National Park.

Downhill skiing at Beitostølen, Norway. Image: Noe Falk Nielsen/NurPhoto

Speaking to the Norwegian national broadcaster, NRK, Hanyu Kang, president of Harbin Winter Sports Association, explained that ice sculpting is a “big thing” in China. He was one of the people who came to Norway to help build the ice church, which is being widely admired for its artistry. Atle Haavi, manager at the Beitøstolen Resort hotel, also spoke to the broadcaster and he expressed his admiration for the sculpture. “I am super excited,” he said. “I’ve never seen such a large piece of art made from snow before – it is simply handiwork of a high standard.”