I have to throw out the disclaimer that I love Breckenridge anyway. I think it is one of the coolest small towns in America. But really Breckenridge is like no other when they host the Snow Sculpture Championships each January. The center of town (really the parking lot of the Riverwalk Center) is transformed, for a week, into an outdoor gallery of SNOWmagination.
Teams across the globe (this year there were 16 teams representing 12 countries) carve 12-foot tall blocks of snow (using no power tools or internal supports) into the most awesome and imaginative pieces of art. If you go, be sure to pick up one of the programs as they do a good job of detailing what the piece is about or the “story” behind it. Each year they are different. But one thing remains constant each year, they are elaborate and detailed.
A week prior to the Championships Breckenridge Ski Resort makes snow that the Town hauls to the site (using dump trucks). Volunteers stomp the snow in preformed wooden molds. One volunteer said. “they blow snow in, then they climb in and stomp, climb out, blow more snow, stomp…it’s quite a workout.” I suppose packing a 10 feet wide, by 10 feet long by 12 foot high block of snow tight would take some work. From that, the artist have just 65 hours to create a masterpiece using only hand tools (think of all that good stuff you have in your kitchen drawers).
Our favorites this year? We each picked out separate ones. Mine was Team France’s “Amour Toujours or Always in Love” which depicts a mom kissing her daughter. My son liked Team Alaska’s “Cabin Fever: The Mad Trapper and the River.” My daughter loved Team USA-Breckenridge “The Sculpture” with a Gepetto looking guy crafting a snowflake.
The celebration doesn’t just end with the impressive sculptures but also there is entertainment (fire dancers), DJs, Demos, and fun for kids too (they can climb on one of the sculptures and you get to see what one of the blocks looks like when they start. (We did wonder why they weren’t having showings of Disney’s Frozen).
While parking can be a bit of a hassle, there are free shuttles that pretty much run all day (6am to midnight). The sculptures will remain on display through Sunday, February 8.
Elsa (from Frozen), you’ve not nothing on creating amazing out of snow and ice compared to these teams! Really, cold never bothered me anyway.