The 2016 International Snow Sculpture Championships
Snow carving in Breckenridge began as a local pastime during the town’s winter carnival—Ullr Fest—in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1979, the staff at Moore and Co. Real Estate pondered which Ullr event to enter. Would they design a float for the parade or craft a sculpture from snow? A coin toss said snow, and the staff formed what became Team Breck, the town’s competitive snow sculpting team.
As years passed, sculptures progressed and goals elevated. Team Breck competed in the Colorado State Snow Sculpture Championships – hosted here in town by Team Breck – and then set their sights on an international event. The dream became reality in 1991 when Team Breck’s Rob Neyland, Ron Shelton, Randy Amys and Bill Hazell, along with the Town of Breckenridge and Breckenridge Ski Resort, played host to teams from around the country and the globe for the inaugural International Snow Sculpture Championships. Successive competitions bring new languages and new friends to our historic mining town, which has welcomed artists from countries such as Morocco, Switzerland, Russia, China, Argentina and Canada.
The founders of Breckenridge’s International Snow Sculpture Championships are still involved in the event, which is attended annually by more than 34,000 people.
THE WHEN & WHERE
- Stomping (technical) week: Jan. 18-22
- Competition/sculpting days: Jan. 26-30
- Sculptures remain on display through Feb. 7
BY THE NUMBERS
- 4: artists per team
- 12 feet: height of each blank block before sculpting begins
- 65 hours: total time allowed for competitors to sculpt across the 5 days of competition
- 250: teams invited to compete; only 16 are selected
- 320 tons: total amount of snow to create blocks for 16 teams
- 1990: First year of the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships
- 40,000 pounds: weight of each block before sculpting begins
TEAMS COMPETING IN 2016:
Canada (Yukon), Estonia, Finland, France, Germany (Agrawal), Germany (Theil), Great Britain, Mexico, Mongolia (Batmunkh), Mongolia (Bayanmunkh), Switzerland, USA (Breckenridge), USA (Loveland), USA (Vermont), USA (Wisconsin), and Ukraine.
Check out these photos from last year's Championships!
To learn more, please visit the official website of the International Snow Sculpture Championships.
And be sure to catch the Fire Arts Festival Jan 28-31 for a fiery contrast of burning sculptures, pyrotechnical effects and other spark-filled attractions throughout the Breckenridge Arts District.