Medals awarded for Int’l Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge
Last chance to vote
With the recent warm weather, the entries for the International Snow Sculpture Championships are beginning to melt away and will be gone for good after Sunday, Feb. 8, but you still have one last chance to vote for your favorite piece. An Online Award will be given to the sculpture with the highest average score from star ratings collected on the GoBreck blog, http://blog.gobreck.com. On the homepage of the blog is a scrolling series of photos of each of the entries. Click on each team’s entry, and then choose a star rating for that sculpture. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8, and a winner will be announced through GoBreck’s social media platforms on Monday, Feb. 9.
------------ The competitors
• Mongolia-Munkh Erdene
• Ukraine (first-time competitor)
• USA-West Virginia (first-time competitor)
Visit http://www.facebook.com/gobreck for start-to-finish video updates from the competition.
Three weeks ago, the Tiger Dredge Lot adjacent to the Riverwalk Center was a clean-swept, standard slab of concrete. Then came the cranes, the molds and the snow, as 20-ton blocks were stomped and the empty space was transformed, first into a village of towering cubes and then, bit by bit, into an artfully sculpted garden of masterpieces.
When the frenzy of chiseling and scraping came to an end, Lithuania was crowned champion of the 25th annual International Snow Sculpture Championships with their piece titled “The Wind of Eternal Change.” Tomas Petreikis said his team was thrilled with the win.
“We’ve met our desired criteria, and we already felt happy about doing it right,” he said. “And the award was the true proof of it.”
The idea for the sculpture came about as many ideas do, Petreikis said, “drinking beer during hot summer days, talking together.” He described the piece as a representation of the various forms that water can take, clouds, rain and snow.
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“The snow that this sculpture is made of — all these physical states are made of water and are in constant change,” Petreikis said. “The life itself arrives from water. Sometimes it has to survive from it as had do so Noah’s ark. Where will the wind of constant change lead our ark, our life, our humanity to next? What challenges, horizons, shores are to be seen?”
Petreikis, along with team members Mindaugas Jurenas and Arturas Burneika and team captain Kestutis Lanauskas, spent four days creating the sculpture. Per the rules of the competition, each of the 15 teams representing 10 different countries used only hand tools to sculpt the snow. Team Germany-Agrawal scored silver with “Yantra,” which judge coordinator Jenn Cram noted for its 360-degree interest.
“The precision and execution created a piece that has tension and balance, casting shadows with a wide range of tones, from white to gray and blue,” she said, speaking on behalf of the five-judge panel, which included sculptor Stuart Bremner, Denver Arts & Venues public art program manager Michael Chavez, glass artist John Hudnut, executive director of Colorado Creative Industries Margaret Hunt, and the host, Carrie Saldo, writer and producer of Rocky Mountain PBS’ Arts District.
Rounding out the judges’ top picks was USA-Minnesota, with the bronze medal, for their sculpture titled “The Tempest.” The sculpture depicted a Mother Nature figure summoning the power of the eagle’s wings to create the storm that ravaged portions of the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota in 1999.
“Cradled in an elegant sweep of wings, the pensive figure suggests the calm eye of the tempest,” Cram said, adding that the judges were impressed by the variety of subject matter and attention to detail demonstrated in this year’s competition.
Though the awards bestowed upon the sculptors by the judges were laudable, perhaps more coveted were three others conferred by the crowd, the most prestigious of which was the Artists’ Choice, selected by the sculptors themselves.
The award was given to Mongolia-Tserendash’s sculpture, “On the Way to the Dream.” Depicting a wave thrusting a boat captained by two indigenous peoples, the piece touched on the strength of nature and respect for the environment.
The final two awards both went to Team USA-Alaska for their piece titled “Alaskan Fish Camp: Deadliest Catch II.” The sculpture, which portrayed a cabin, a fisherman and a pair monstrous fish, received both the People’s Choice and Kids’ Choice awards.
Despite warm weather the past week, all of the sculptures are still up and available for viewing through Sunday, Feb. 8, though they’re no longer in pristine condition and a couple of the gravity-defying pieces have fallen, which is normal by this time, said Rachel Zerowin, with GoBreck.
“We still encourage people to come see the sculptures, how big they are … but to also remember that snow is a temporary art form and they’ve lost the finer details,” she said.
Petreikis and the rest of the Lithuanian team will go home with their medal, memories of the “beautiful hospitality” of the Breckenridge community and the friends they made from around the world. He only had one request for next year.
“More oxygen is needed in Breckenridge!”
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