Breckenridge hosts International Snow Sculpture Championships

Snow Sculptures Breckenridge

The 22nd annual Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships are underway in Breckenridge. This popular free event invites crowds to watch artists transform 20-ton blocks of snow into towering works of art.

Event Overview
Stomping WeekJanuary 16-20
Breckenridge Ski Resort made the snow and the Town of Breckenridge Public Works loaded it into dump trucks and lifted the blocks into the Riverwalk competition area.

Sculpting Week and JudgingJanuary 24-28
Artists sculpt their masterpieces all week; finishing by Saturday, January 28 at 10:00 a.m. Judging is at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Awards Ceremony and Viewing WeekJanuary 29-February 5
The awards ceremony is at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 29. Sculptures will remain on display through Sunday, February 5, weather permitting.

Snow Sculptures BreckenridgeOne of Breckenridge’s biggest events, it’s astonishing to watch these talented sculptors work their magic using only hand tools — including the occasional carrot scraper and chicken wire. This year’s teams are from Australia, Canada, Spain, China, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Mexico, Switzerland and Alaska, Colorado, Idaho and Wisconsin. Each five-person team gets 65 hours to bring their 20-ton block of snow to life.

Sculptures typically tell of each team’s cultural heritage and are judged on theme, style and technique. Winners receive a medallion and a ribbon. There are also People’s Choice, Kids’ Choice and Artists’ Choice winners.

The sculptures are located in the area around theBreckenridge Riverwalk Center at 150 W. Adams Ave. and visitors are welcome to view the process from beginning to end.

Organizers say Friday, January 27 is one of the best times to visit, as artists are preparing to stay up all night to do detail work and there’s a fun celebratory buzz in the air. The crowds thin out after Saturday and the following week is also a great time to view the finished works and see who took home the gold.

More than 30,000 people attend each year and the event has been featured on the Today Show, in National Geographic Magazine, Sunset Magazine, Dallas Morning News, USA Today, New York Times, MSNBC, Travelocity and on the Travel Channel.

Stop by the Event Headquarters in the Riverwalk Center for souvenir postcards and pins and to learn about the process of snow sculpting, the teams and trivia from past competitions. Don’t miss the Ice Village – a land of glowing ice statues. Support your favorite sculpture with the People’s Choice Vote for a $1 donation that will go directly to supporting the Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships.

View the 2011 sculpture winners. Click here for more event information.

Make a memorable date out of it with these Breckenridge ski date ideas.

– Lisa Pogue

Photos courtesy Casey Day