Snow carving is an art that dates back to the mid-1960’s. Every January, professional snow sculptors travel from around the world to participate in the annual International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge. The competition is comprised of 16 hand-chosen teams, 4 artists per team. These teams will work day and night from January 26th through January 30th, carefully hand carving and sculpting a 12 foot, 20-ton block of snow into an artistic design of their choosing. The use of power tools is not permitted.
This year’s teams will be comprised of artists from the following countries: Canada, Germany, France, Finland, Great Britain, Mexico, Estonia, Mongolia, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United States. Representing the United States are 4 highly skilled groups of snow artists from Wisconsin, Vermont, Loveland, and, last but not least, Breckenridge!
Each team is allotted a total of 65 hours to complete their creation. Each block weighs approximately 40,000 pounds before the artists begin sculpting. 250 teams are invited to participate in the competition, but only 16 finalists are selected. The sculptures are only supported by snow – no internal supports. The snow blocks are created by stomping the snow during “stomping week.” The annual stomping week begins January 18th and ends on the 22nd.
Weather permitting, the town of Breckenridge dedicates a week following the judging for people to come and observe the beauty of these magnificent creations. Viewing week will be from January 30th through February 7th.
This is a free event with two categories open to public voting: People’s Choice and Kid’s Choice. Finalists receive no monetary reward; instead they receive a great deal of recognition throughout the international snow sculpting community.