Friday, February 01, 2013

The Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championship

Last weekend was the culmination of the 23rd year that my hometown of Breckenridge, Colorado, has hosted the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championship. My husband and I worked as volunteers, serving breakfast to the sculptors Saturday morning and collecting People's Choice votes Saturday afternoon. Fifteen teams of artists from all over the world began sculpting huge blocks of stomped snow on Tuesday morning at 11 AM, and the sculptures had to be completed by 10 AM on Saturday morning. So, we had some sleepy folks coming in for breakfast that day, having worked through the night or only gotten a few hours of sleep before the final push to 10 AM.

My husband took hundreds of photos of the works-in-progress and the finished sculptures, and I selected a few of the photos to share with my blog readers. In the first one, the Canada/Yukon team works on their sculpture of an Inuit fable about a grandfather and young grandson hunting for meat for their starving village (all the menfolk were hunting whales far away). The only weapons they had were a knife (grandpa) and a harpoon (grandson). When they encountered a grizzly bear, grandpa went after him, but the bear ate him whole. Then as the grandson prepared to fight the bear to his death, the grandpa cut his way out of the bear's stomach with a knife, killing the bear, saving his grandson and providing food for the village. The moral of the story? Chew your food! ;-)

This is the  Singapore team working on their sculpture of the mythical Merlion (head of a lion, body of a fish that is the mascot of the country) and a surrounding pod of dolphins.

Here the Mongolian team works on their warriors charging on horseback. The Mongolians swept the awards, winning First Place in the official judging, People's Choice, and Artist's Choice.

Below, the Germany team works on their geometric sculpture of an exploding star.

And here's the Breckenridge team working on their sculpture of a bull-riding cowboy and a rodeo clown in a barrel behind him.

This is Iceland's egg, inscribed with the pattern of a typical Icelandic sweater.

This is the Second Place winner by Estonia, symbolizing a fairy tale where two lovers could only meet two times a year.

And here's the third place winner by Catalonia, an abstract tribute to Picasso.

This is Mexico's mechanical whale. We watched the team chip away the last extra supports minutes before 10 AM on Saturday, and the precariously balanced sculpture collapsed the next day.

Here I am, standing in front of the award winner and my favorite.

This is China's entry, of a Chinese family enjoying the advent of winter.

Below is Alaska's entry illustrating another fable about Raven, who transformed himself into a white bird to please his love. Then he stole the sun, moon, stars, water, and fire, which were all in her father's lodge. He hung the sun, moon, and stars in the sky, and brought the water and fire to the earth. The smoke from the fire turned his feathers black.

Here's the finished Team Breckenridge sculpture, showing the rodeo clown in the barrel behind the cowboy.

And here's the finished Canada/Yukon sculpture, showing the amazed grandson holding his harpoon off to the left. This sculpture won the Kid's Choice award.

This is the sculpture  by the Great Britain/Wales team, showing huge faces that exemplified each of the seven deadly sins.

And last is a shot of the large parking lot in which the sculptures were created and displayed.

I'm already looking forward to next year's event!


Janet Kay Jensen said...

Splendid sculptures! Amazing! We have enough snow in Utah now to make more than snowmen . . . .

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Beth, those are incredible. And how cool that you and Neil are volunteering. Way to enjoy your new location and life!

Beth Groundwater said...

Thanks, Janet and Donnell, for your comments. We love volunteering for events here in Breckenridge, Donnell. We get to meet interesting people and we usually get either a free meal or "swag" (small gifts) for our time.