Colorado's Coolest Snow Sculpture Championships
by Jessica Howell
as it does all over the world, winter
arrives with a crisp air to Breckinridge,
Colorado. Only here, unlike many destinations,
it's a celebrated occasion. The height
of winter festivities peak for one wonderful
week in January, when artists from around
the globe gather to display their talents
in friendly competition at the annual
International Snow Sculpture Championships.
the epicenter of downtown, between Main
Street and Park Avenue, teams from far-flung
destinations including China, Russia,
France and Germany, collide in a flurry
of action. Here, they will spend hour
upon hour bringing to life their icy depictions.
Annually attended by more than 30,000
people, the Breckinridge winter festival
will mark its 18th anniversary in 2008.
the five-day festival, teams of four work
to carve 12-foot tall, 20-ton blocks of
machine-made snow into intricate works
of pure whimsy using chisels, saws, chicken
wire and even carrot scapers. Power tools?
Nope those aren't allowed. From
elephants, people and organically-inspired
shapes, nothing is off-limits when it
comes to creative snow canvases.
gawkers gaze as they make their way through
town, marveling at the skill of nature's
crafters. Best of all? It's free. After
65 laborous hours, the sculptures are
judged by a panel of artists and patrons
who award first, second and third place
honors. However, the best reward available
is the crowd's hard-earned appreciation.
explore the previous years of snow-filled
fun, visitors can stop by the Snow Sculpture
Headquarters, where they'll find souvenirs,
trivia and a detailed history of snow
sculptures in Colorado. If you're heading
to Breckinridge for the winter festival,
also plan your trip around the annual
Ullr Fest a weeklong ode to Norse,
the mythical god of Snow. Besides the
Main Street parade and pub crawls, Norse
brings with him an unbeatable ice skating
party and a city that rivals any other
for the best of parties.
public transportation is available throughout
the town from 6:30 a.m. to midnight, provided
by the Breckenridge FREE RIDE. Maps are
available at Event Headquarters, Information
Centers, Breckenridge Station and on each
bus and trolley. The closest bus stop
to Event Headquarters is the F-Lot, which
is serviced by most bus routes.
find a Breckinridge hotel, click
more about the festival and fun winter