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VIDEO: Stomping snow in Breckenridge

Technical week at the 2012 snow sculpting championships

A beautiful sculpture lurks inside each snow monolith — photo by Jenney Coberly

Story and video by Jenney Coberly

BRECKENRIDGE, CO — To paraphrase Michaelangelo, “Every block of snow has a sculpture inside it and it is the task of the artist to discover it.”

Heavy equipment in action always makes for good visuals, so check out the massive snowblower and the snow stomping activities in this video:

Greenman at the 2011 Breckenridge snow sculpture championships — photo by Jenney Coberly

Sixteen teams with artists from twelve countries have been selected to compete in the 22nd annual International Snow Sculpture Championships from January 24-28. Of the 35 countries invited to apply, teams selected include Argentina, Australia, Canada-Ontario, Canada-Quebec, Canada-Yukon, China, Finland, Germany, Latvia/Estonia, Mexico-Ulises, Spain, Switzerland, USA-Alaska, USA-Breckenridge, USA-Vermont and USA-Wisconsin-Franklin. Many of the 2012 artists have medaled at major snow sculpting events around the world.

The snow for the blocks needs to be clean and free of landscape debris like pine needles, so Breckenridge Ski Resort makes the snow, and then the Town of Breckenridge Public Works department hauls it to the event site with dump trucks. With each of the starting blocks weighing in at approximately two tons, that’s about 320 tons of snow. Using front-end loaders and an enormous snow blower, snow is transferred from dump trucks into wooden molds. Five to ten volunteer snow stompers climb into the block and stomp the snow to help pack it down. The process is repeated until the mold is full and packed into a full-sized block.

Summit County Voice coverage of the 2011 Snow Sculpture Championships can be found here.

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