Carving out a win: Q&A with Snow Sculpture Champions Team Breck
The 24th annual Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships are underway, with 16 teams from around the globe shaping 12-foot, 20-ton snow blocks into stunning works of art using nothing but hand tools and imagination.
Team USA-Colorado/Breckenridge captain Keith Martin shares what it takes:
Q. What constitutes an award-winning sculpture?
A. “A piece that is original, detailed, moving and inspiring.”
Q. Where did the design inspiration for Team Breck’s 2014 sculpture “Winter Fun” come from?
A. “I was inspired to do this design because it is what we here in Summit County are about. As kids, we would look outside at the snow and imagine what the day of fun would have in store. Sledding, snow ball fights and forts to be built. Unfortunately, as adults, most start to look at snow as a burden. Shoveling, back aches and bad traffic. Not us here in Summit County. We still look at the snow outside with that same imagination we had when we were kids.”
Q. What are the most useful/unusual/creative sculpting tools you’ve called on?
A. “Two of the more unusual tools that I use are an ice hole auger and a truss plate. The ice hole auger is generally used for ice fishing, but we use it to mine out an area that we need to remove by turning it into Swiss cheese and making it easy to blast out with a large chisel. The truss plate is a metal plate that is used in construction to hold wood roof trusses together. We use it for its abrasive qualities.”
Q. What do you love about the Breckenridge sculpting competition?
A. “The people and the hometown feel. We have all of our friends to support us here. We have the best snow I have ever sculpted and some of the best weather conditions for doing so.”
Q. Something guests probably don’t know about the Snow Sculpture Championships is…
A. “Teams have made it, but their tools didn’t. We’ll loan our tools out to our competitors and help them compete against us. We want everyone to have a great time as friends, not as competitors. We want them to complete incredible works of art and leave our town with a welcomed feeling.”
Rules and Facts
- Teams may only use hand tools to carve out their proposed design. No power tools, support structures or colorants allowed.
- Teams have five days (65 hours) to sculpt.
- Winners receive no money – just bragging rights.
- This year’s teams are: Catalonia-Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain-Wales, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Mongolia, Mongolia-Ulaanbaatar, Russia, USA-Colorado/Black Forest, USA-Colorado/Breckenridge, USA-Vermont and USA-Wisconsin.
- Team Breck consists of Keith Martin, Tim West, Margo Jerkovitz and Tom Day.
- Artists sculpt Jan. 21–25
- Judging is at 10 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 25
- Awards ceremony is at 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25
- Sculptures remain standing (weather permitting) until Sunday, Feb. 2
For more details and to watch a video on the competition, visit our Event Calendar. Visit BreckConnection.com to view submission sketches, team bios and to follow teams online during competition week.
– Lisa Pogue