North America sweeps snow sculpting prizes, with Team Mexico, Canada and Breck/USA taking top spots in Colorado contest
By Jenney Coberly
BRECKENRIDGE — There was gridlock on the streets of town as people thronged the Breckenridge Snow Sculpture Championships during the weekend. The warm and sunny weather brought out the crowds, but the strong sun wasn’t so kind to the sculptures. The Eternal Bridge, by Team Germany, fell victim to the sun on Saturday afternoon, and there was melting and smaller collapses on some of the other sculptures. In spite of the vagaries of Mother Nature, the sculptures remained beautiful to behold.
The winner was Alebrije, by Team Mexico. Second place went to The Spirits of the Aurora, by Team Canada/Yukon, and third place to Team USA/Breckenridge for Underwater.
The People’s Choice award went to Spirits of the Aurora, and the Kid’s Choice was awarded to Underwater.
A video of the awards ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Riverwalk Center:
Team Mexico’s winning entry, Alebrije, is a highly-detailed rendering of three mythological beings of Mexican culture. Team Canada Yukon won second with “Spirits of the Aurora,” a mystical piece that dpeicts the Northern Lights.
Team USA Breckenridge began sculpting when snow carving was still a part of Ullr Fest. Founding members Rob Neyland and Rob Shelton continued sculpting as part of Team Breck and until this year, at least one of the two competed in every Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships.
While some of the 2011 team members have competed as part of Team Breck in the past, this year marks a new generation of artists for Team Breck. Captain Keith Martin joined forces with Tim West, Rob Baker and David Pfau for 2011.
“We’ve been competing against one another in the Snowflake Challenge for years and now we’re all carving together,” said Martin. “I think you can plan on seeing Team Breck all together again next year doing another exciting, unusual piece.”
“We went out of the box by staying in the box,” said David Pfau, longtime Team Breck member and owner of Breckenridge Photographics.
“Team USA Breckenridge took some risks with the overhang created for their underwater scene and the suspended shark,” said Jenn Cram, judge coordinator and arts district administrator for Breckenridge. “‘Underwater’ displayed great attention to detail; both the face behind the frozen mask and the ice details on the octopus tentacles were superb. We also liked that they kept the form of the starting block, giving a hint of the original canvas.”
Thousands of spectators watched throughout the week as teams battled warm temperatures and intense sunshine to create the pieces, which were achieved without the use of power tools, internal support structures or colorants – just the ingenuity of the sculptors and a medium that lends itself, if only temporarily, to the persuasion of hand tools.