Taking Snow Sculpting Seriously

Sixty-five hours is about right. But after they had elapsed, the artists at the International Snow Sculpture championships were showing off figures that certainly don't resemble anything The Early Show's intrepid correspondent Melinda Murphy has ever tried to fashion out of snow.

Believe it or not, one 20-ton, 12-foot-tall blocks of snow soon put Frosty to shame. Artists from all over the world came to carve out a name for themselves at this chilly event.

From Mexico, Dolores Ortiz Ahlf may not see a lot of snow, but that is not a problem for her. She says, "We practice with clay and different other materials."

Of course, the local Breckenridge guys have a bit more snow experience. After all, these fellows created the event themselves 14 years ago. Even so, Ron Shelton of the Breckenridge team says, "We haven't won this competition yet. Ever."

And wouldn't you know? The team right next to them has won twice.

Peter Vogelaar's key to success? "We manage to go big, go really crisp and have a clear strong message," he says of his team from British Columbia.

The guys from Breckenridge had a simple design this year: A duck landing on the water, which really began to take shape, using a clay model as the guide, on day two of the five-day event.

Rob Meyland of the Breckenridge team says it is not always easy to work as a team. With tongue-in-cheek, he says, "Well, actually this is our third teammate. The other three we had executed a couple times."

Truth is, most of these guys are real estate brokers; but the majority of the other competitors are professional artists.

However, team Minnesota was made up of math professors and computer scientists. Team member Carlo Sequin says sculpting is what a mathematician does for fun.

"That's how you do it," he says. And they're really proud of their work, really proud.

Stan Wagon of team Minnesota says, "I don't have children so these are my kids. Asked if he keeps pictures of his snow sculptures in his wallet? He says, "Well, I've only done five."

This year, their inside-out snowball was up against 13 other sculptures whose creators all chopped, and carved, and sawed using anything and everything, except power tools.

And while they sculpted, so did Murphy with 73-year-old Klaus Ebeling as her teacher. It didn't take long for Murphy to say, "This is a lot of work? " Surprised, Ebeling replied, "Already? You've hardly started."

Maybe so, but carving snow is tough. She says, "See, there's a flower here and a flower there and there's a leaf."

Well, she only spent ten minutes on her creation. And soon found out when you have to explain your art, it's not very good.

But for the rest of the folks, the hard work showed. Judging is no easy task.

Judge Stephen Leblanc says, "There's some very, very creative pieces here this year. In fact, I think this is the best it's ever been."

But in the end, team British Columbia won for the third year in a row.

Peter Vogelaar says, "I'm really, really thrilled to be a winner this year with the excellent caliber of work"

Team Idaho took home Kids' Choice and team Tennessee snagged People's Choice. But it's back to the old drawing board for team Breckenridge.

As for what they will sculpt next year, a kid offered his idea: A skating pig.

"That's my sister's favorite animal and she likes skating, too."
  • Tatiana Morales

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