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February1–5

U.S. Snow Sculpting Week – February 1-5, 2023

U.S. Snow Sculpting Week is celebrated from February 1 to 5 this year. Snow, with its ability to create a blank canvas of the world, is both beautiful and captivating. Some see this as a source of beauty in and of itself, while others see the open space as an opportunity to create something new and fleeting. Every year, U.S. Snow Sculpting Week is held for those who are inspired to create beautiful and complex works of art using the temporary medium of snow. Spring is on its way, but that doesn’t mean the splendor of winter has to go away just yet; U.S. Snow Sculpting Week will take its place first! The United States Snow Sculpting Week honors a tradition of ice art and beauty. The U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition has kicked off Winter Fest in Lake Geneva, WI for over 20 years. For four days, teams from all over the country whittle and shape their creations from nine-foot-tall blocks of snow into eight-foot-diameter cylinders.

History of U.S. Snow Sculpting Week

The U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition was founded in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, over 20 years ago. With it came the establishment of U.S. Snow Sculpting Week, a tradition that is still observed there every year and is spreading throughout the world to other areas that are still under the grip of winter at this time of year.

Every year, thousands of artists gather to let their imaginations run wild and create incredible and temporary works of art out of nine-foot-tall and eight-foot-round blocks of snow. These artists’ work ranges from simple geometric shapes to intricate sculptures that straddle the line between hyper-realism and purely surreal.

During Ullr Fest in the 1970s, amateur teams created snow sculptures in front of shops on Main Street. Snow sculpting fits in perfectly with our annual winter festival, which is named after Ullr, a somewhat fictitious god of snow. Rob Neyland and Ron Shelton created snow sculptures in front of their real estate office during every Ullr Fest under the alias Carvin’ Marvin and the Snowflakes. Rob and Ron were successful in winning the state snow sculpture championships for Breckenridge in the late 1980s. The teams from Neyland and Shelton were also successful, traveling internationally and making friends at other state championships. Breckenridge hosted the first International Snow Sculpture Championships in 1991. Instead of lining the street, the snow blocks were concentrated in the old Bell Tower Mall parking lot. The art of snow carving has skyrocketed.

The Breckenridge event, according to Neyland, is one of the best in the world because of the colder and dryer weather (compared to other event locations), the quality of the carving blocks made by the Breckenridge Ski Resort with man-made snow, and the community’s willingness to accommodate the event.

U.S. Snow Sculpting Week timeline

1886
World Oldest Winter Festival

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival, which features snow and ice carving competitions, is the world's oldest annual winter carnival, with the first one held in 1886.

1922
Winter Carnival at Michigan University

Michigan Technological University's annual Winter Carnival becomes a tradition and, these sculptures are not made from a single block, but rather from a series of blocks carved for a month.

1963
First Winter Festival in China

Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival evolve from Harbin's traditional winter ice lantern show and garden party, which begins in Heilongjiang, China.

1973
Canada Joins in the Hype

Snow sculpture events are held as part of the Winterlude celebrations in Ottawa.

U.S. Snow Sculpting Week FAQs

How do you get snow ready for sculpting?

You need to wait for the proper temperature. Snow is pliable at that temperature; it holds together and molds easily. If the temperature rises above 25ºF, your sculpture may melt. When the temperature falls below 20ºF, the snow becomes drier and more brittle, making it more difficult to work with.

What are the locations of the ice sculptures in Lake Geneva?

Ice Castles is located in Lake Geneva at 1,221 Geneva National Avenue South.

Why do we celebrate U.S Snow Sculpting Week?

It’s because there’s a championship, which is an annual event in which teams of the best snow sculptors and artists from across the country compete for the National Championship.

U.S. Snow Sculpting Week Activities

  1. Put your creative abilities to the test

    Gather a group of like-minded artists and some tools, and see what it takes to get involved on your own. Who knows what incredible creation will emerge from the collaborative efforts of you and the other artists on your team?

  2. Build your ice snow

    If you are unable to attend but live in an area where snow falls, create your ice and snow sculpture. Display it for neighbors and friends to see.

  3. Share it on social media

    } While you're out having fun, share your experiences with others. Use the hashtag #SnowSculptingWeek to share your experiences with others.

5 Interesting Facts About Snow Sculptures

  1. The Oldest Annual Winter

    Saint Paul Winter Carnival was the first annual winter carnival to host snow sculpture competitions.

  2. Made from a single block of snow

    Snow sculptures are typically carved from a single block of snow that is six to 15 ft (1.8–4.6 m) on each side and weighs 20 to 30 tons.

  3. They last for more than 12 hours

    Ice sculptures typically last more than 12 hours at room temperature, but this varies depending on size, design complexity, and location.

  4. Eye-catching snow sculptures

    Simply dilute food coloring in water and apply it with a brush or spray bottle to your sculptures to achieve this effect.

  5. Often used in culinary arts

    Ice sculpting is now frequently incorporated into the culinary arts, with many sculptors learning the craft in culinary schools.

Why We Love U.S. Snow Sculpting Week

  1. It allows us to expand our knowledge

    This is also a learning day. This day provides us with an opportunity to learn more about the history of snow sculpting.

  2. It’s family-friendly entertainment

    A holiday like this not only brings the entire family together but also serves to unite families all over the world. The planning and participation of a variety of stakeholders ensure that there is something for everyone to participate in, resulting in only the best memories.

  3. It awakens your inner artist

    It's a heinous crime to be unaware that you have an artistic spirit within you! It's better late than never, right? This holiday could be your chance to find out if you have the talent for it.

U.S. Snow Sculpting Week dates

YearDateDay
2022February 2Wednesday
2023February 1Wednesday
2024February 7Wednesday
2025February 5Wednesday
2026February 4Wednesday
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