Oh derp, when I said "faces" what I meant were the sides of the icebergs facing over the water. So snowpones approaching by boat would see the carvings on their way. However
>I think a giant ice cave might be better, won't get buried under the snow.
is a fantastic idea and using the legend as a justification for the snow and ice sculptures as well as the pilgrimage is perfect. Perhaps over time the cave has been excavated and built into, with beds and provisions for those visiting? Different tribes enjoy leaving regional specialities for their friends to try.
Would they have expanded and built into the cave over time? Perhaps if larger groups travel there they might need the extra space or if they do leave provisions, the space to store them. And as they carve into the walls of the cave, more of it is excavated to make more room for more carvings.
>Could have it be due to bordering some wendigo homeland?
Even more reason for them to go together in groups, though I also like the idea of Ice Elation (or other snowpones experienced with the regions up there) accompanying them. In Ice's case both to provide some measure of reassurance and to then travel on to other places, as she so often does.
>They would have returned to the snowpony villages once that brief part of the year came around again, having many tales to tell of their journeys.
I'm not sure if the windigos have such a mutualistic relationship with the snowpones that they'd offer food, though you could certainly say what food they find they assumed was left by the windigos. Though whatever the case, I do like the idea that it was a band of explorers who became temporarily stranded. Others venture there to create their own sculptures, maintain the old ones, and to return with their own stories of what they saw. Traditions that may not always make sense (but do to the snowpones) lend a real sense of verisimilitude to the world, I think.
>Pine Ponder/Pine Needle's ancestors could have made a large pinecone carving or sculpture. Would be rather pretty made out of ice.
Perhaps after hearing a few hushed legends of a 'crystal forest' that nopony has ever seen? Whether it's true or not, the idea itself is impossible to resist and so they carve an enormous ice pinecone to capture some of the beauty that place must surely hold.
Or even just out of their own veneration of the forests and their tireless caretaking of them. A reminder in that harsh, treeless place that they aren't forgotten.
>Perhaps even a lone shaman takes it upon themselves to look after it, living alone in the far north. Ice Elation and other ponies like her from other tribes/communities could bring news and supplies to them.
I think that'd suit Ice Elation particularly well, given her penchant for adventuring alone. One last place before she sets out into the wilderness, with a snowpone who understands that remaining apart from others can be necessary.
Would the shaman inhabit the ancient cave? When a group from one of the tribes makes their journey up there, it's an opportunity to share in company once again and join them as they set above creating new sculptures. Sharing the news of their homes, bringing small gifts as thanks for the shaman staying in that place to watch over things.