How Artists Make Snow Sculptures

During the Breckenridge competition, each team creates an enormous work of art from 12-foot-tall, 20-ton blocks of machine-made Colorado snow. Artists achieve finished pieces after a total of 65 hours of work without the use of power tools, internal support structures or colorants.

Team Mexico has been selected to compete in the 22nd annual International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado Jan. 24-28, 2012. Of the 35 teams invited to apply, Team Mexico is one of 16 chosen to compete.

They practice in sand and have become recognized by the judges as a team who have evolved as sculptors; Team Mexico won first place in 2011 with the mythical piece “Alebrije.”

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At the close of sculpting, the judges – a panel of well-known artists and arts patrons – select first, second and third place sculptures. Additional award categories include People’s Choice, Kids’ Choice and Artists’ Choice.

There are no cash prizes; artists compete only for recognition. Pieces remain on display through Feb. 5, 2012 and give rise to a free outdoor sculpture gallery in the center of downtown Breckenridge, Colo.

This year’s Team Mexico members include captain Pablo Elias; sculptors Josue Elias, Abraham Elias and Daniel Elias; and representative Norma Marquez (not allowed to sculpt).

Snow carving in Breckenridge began as a local pastime during the town’s winter carnival – Ullr Fest – in the late 1960s. The founders of Breckenridge’s International Snow Sculpture Championships are still involved in the event, which is today attended annually by more than 30,000 people.

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