Team Canada-Quebec secured first prize in the 22nd annual International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, with "Great Expectations," a complex and cohesive piece depicting the "ice houses" once used to preserve meat, poultry and fish on the Saint Anne River in central Quebec. Along with 15 other teams and artists from 11 other countries, Team Canada-Quebec worked across five days, for a total of 65 hours, to create an enormous work of art from a 20-ton block of snow.
Team Germany won second with "Dancing Screens," an ambitious and superbly executed piece that rendered harmony within an imbalance of angles. Team Baltic (Latvia/Estonia) won third with "Discover the Edge of the World," which used flowing lines to create 360-degree interest.
"Team Canada-Quebec created a sculpture that demonstrates all virtues of carving snow: clean execution, anatomically correct figures and animals, texture, balance and more," said Jenn Cram, judge coordinator and arts district administrator for the Town of Breckenridge.
Artists worked through the night on Friday to complete sculpting by 10 a.m. on Saturday. An official awards ceremony took place Sunday at Breck's Riverwalk Center to announce the winners and present them with medals.
Thousands of spectators watched throughout the week as teams worked through sun, clouds and, Friday morning, eight inches of fresh snow. Pieces are achieved without the use of power tools, internal support structures or colorants - just the ingenuity of the sculptors and a medium that lends itself, if only temporarily, to the persuasion of hand tools.
Sculptures will remain on display at the Riverwalk Center though Sunday, (weather permitting). An eco-friendly LED lighting system adds to the play of light and shadow with gentle tones of color.