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Chainsaw sculptor puts Vikings pride on ice

Cash Erickson, a Nevis first-grader, visits ice sculptures created by Boulder Lake resident Chuck McNamee to celebrate the Minnesota Vikings' victory in the NFC north championship. (Submitted photo)

Minnesota Vikings fans have celebrated their team's victory in the NFC North championship in many ways.

For one local man, his way involves a chainsaw and blocks of ice.

Chuck McNamee, a Mahnomen native who lives on Boulder Lake, showed his excitement by carving and decorating a Viking, the word "SKOL," and a giant replica of the Vince Lombardi trophy.

Carter Erickson and his son Cash, a first-grader at Nevis School, spotted the ice creations at the end of McNamee's driveway, off County Road 18 between Dorset and Nevis. They just had to stop and shoot a picture of Cash posing with each of the sculptures.

The Viking actually stood taller than Cash.

Carter said, "I love the true 'up north' spirit that these sculptures add to this exciting week, where we saw the 'Minnesota Miracle' and look forward to rooting the Vikes to another win Sunday and beyond. SKOL!"

McNamee's wife, Jennifer, explained how her husband's ice sculpting got started.

"We started doing this 'fire and ice' thing out on the lake with a bunch of friends," she said. "Kevin Lindow (a friend from Nevis) was showing us how to make an igloo. He started by pulling blocks of ice out and making an ice castle for the kids."

Chuck's brother, who sculpts wood with a chainsaw as a hobby, got involved. Jennifer said her husband watched and learned, with results that now grace the end of their driveway.

Chuck, who runs a fishing business in Alaska during the summer, said he actually built the Vikings sculptures a week before the big game, during a "fire and ice" party on the lake with family and friends.

"After the game, I decided to move it up to the end of the driveway to share it with the neighbors who maybe couldn't see it on the lake," he said.

Describing himself as a big Vikings fan, Chuck admitted, "I'm not a very good artist. When you're not a very good artist, you want to make sure you create something that's easily recognizable.

"I think, after the big game, that was obviously a joyful moment for everybody in Minnesota. Everybody who drives by it will see it, and whether they're a Vikings fan or not, it will bring a little more happiness to their day."