Meet the real-life Kristoff from Frozen who, like the character, makes a living from harvesting blocks of ice.
‘Ice and snow builder’ Aleksi Yllasjarvi lives and works in Finnish Lapland, where he and his team cut out huge blocks of ice from the frozen Lainio River, just like the ice harvesters from the opening scene of the hit Disney animation.
And the parallels to the film do not stop there, as Aleksi’s grandmother is named Elsa, like the film’s main character, whose special powers enable her to magic ice and snow creations out of thin air.
Aleksi, on the other hand, arms himself with a chisel and a camera when working on his own ice and snow creations.
He has produced mesmerising videos of his work – plus Lapland life with scenes of reindeer, foxes, and squirrels roaming around in the snow – that have turned him into a TikTok sensation, with 64,000 followers and a total of 6.3million likes for his clips.
Aleksi Yllasjarvi makes a living from harvesting blocks of ice, just like Kristoff from Frozen. His team fashioned a fishing boat entirely out of ice. This image shows Aleksi’s colleague Aleksi Pudas shovelling crushed ice out of the vessel during the build
The ice boat was designed in around one hour, said Aleksi
Aleksi’s boss Tom Kurtakko is filmed sitting on a lake in the ice boat after it split in two
Thirty-four-year-old Aleksi Yllasjarvi
The blocks of ice that the 34-year-old harvests are often used to create incredible sculptures for his main place of work, the SnowVillage hotel-come-attraction in Yllas, Lapland, which features icy snow suites, ice sculptures, ice restaurants and an ice bar – but he also carries out custom ice and snow construction all over Finland.
Examples of ice and snow creations he’s helped to produce that are captured on his amazing videos include the Petra monastery in Jordan, the dome-roofed villages of Santorini, New York’s Statue of Liberty, and the Great Pyramid of Giza – which Aleksi said was the most difficult to build.
His team also fashioned a fishing boat entirely out of ice.
Clips showing this ‘ice boat’, complete with a built-in fishing hole, being built have racked up millions and millions of views, with footage showing the creation eventually being rowed on a lake – where it breaks in two.
When asked how he went about building his ice boat, Aleksi said: ‘Planning can take days or just a few minutes, but the ice boat was probably designed in an hour.’
Aleksi says lots of people compare him to Kristoff (above, with his reindeer, Sven) from Disney’s Frozen, but he ‘doesn’t mind’. This image shows an opening scene from the film when Kristoff tries to copy the adult ‘ice harvesters’ around him
Aleksi and his team use wheel loaders to speed up their work. In Frozen, above, Kristoff transports his ice on a wooden sleigh
In captions for videos that feature the SnowVillage hotel, where Aleksi has worked for almost a decade, he explains that the property is made from a colossal 20million kg of snow and 300,000kg of ice.
‘It will melt and after six months, we will start doing it again but with a different theme and layout,’ he wrote in a TikTok comment.
And he told MailOnline Travel: ‘When building a hotel, my job is to process ice into a shape that already resembles a sculpture, from which professional sculptors can easily shape a finished sculpture. I also carve ice sculptures when needed.
‘My responsibility also includes everything else that is done with ice, such as making ice bars, ice slides, and ice restaurant furniture.
Aleksi shared a video of a snow and ice sculpture of Jordan’s iconic monastery in Petra
A replica of Santorini’s iconic dome-roofed village, which Aleksi helped make from snow
‘After the hotel is completed, I can also make ice sculptures and logos for different companies.’
He explained that the tools he uses include ‘a large chainsaw and chisels made from ice for finishing’, and a small wheel loader ‘for moving ice’.
And the biggest challenge? That would be the weather.
Aleksi said: ‘If it is too warm, the ice is slippery and if it is too cold it becomes brittle.’
Making a sculpture can take up to four months, according to Aleksi, who said that the ‘worst’ situation is ‘direct sunlight and of course the heat it brings’.
Aleksi (left) and boss Tomi (right) filmed using chainsaws to cut ice into large blocks to be stored for projects the following autumn
Colleague Rami Kurtakko is seen using a wheel loader to lift ice cubes out of the river, which are then cleaned and stored for use the following autumn
This clip shows boss Tomi drilling a door into the wall of an igloo while working on a project at the SnowVillage hotel in Lapland
Aleksi, who was born in the village of Yllasjarvi, told MailOnline he is ‘used to working in the cold’, having spent his life in Lapland, and prefers the winter to summer.
When asked how he got into carving snow and ice, Aleksi said the opportunity arose after visiting friends working at one of the hotels.
‘I went in 2013 to see a hotel made of ice and snow where my friends worked and one of them asked if I was interested,’ he said.
‘The following autumn, I applied for a job and it started from there.’
When asked about his proudest creations, Aleksi said: ‘There have been many great projects.
‘For example, we have made a stage for the band Tesseract, at the Jagermeister Ice Cold Gig.
‘But my favourite is, probably, a Game-of-Thrones-themed ice hotel from a few years ago and the funniest project has been the boat made of ice that went viral on TikTok.’
He went on to say that lots of people compare him to Kristoff from Frozen, but he ‘doesn’t mind’.
‘Sven is also asked about a lot, but I don’t have any reindeer,’ he said.
‘The funny thing is that my grandmother’s name is Elsa and before my TikTok videos went viral, my wife founded Elsa – a restaurant named after my grandmother.’
Aleksi Yllasjarvi can be found on TikTok here www.tiktok.com/@aleksiyllasjarvi and on Instagram here – www.instagram.com/herrayllasjarvi.