Snowy Art: The Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships

Every January, artists come to Breckenridge with cheese graters and wooden spoons in hand. This group of dedicated snow-lovers are some of the best professional sculptors and snow artists in the world, and they just so happen to descend on our little mountain town to create snow sculptures as part of the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships, presented by Breckenridge Brewery.

Hand-picked to spend 96 hours in a heated race, the 16 teams will work day and night to chip, carve and carefully sculpt the 12-foot-tall, 25-ton blocks of snow into an enormous, intricate masterpiece.

Breckenridge Snow Sculptures Teams

The competition is comprised of 16 teams from around the world. Each team includes four artists, many of whom are internationally-known snow artists with backgrounds in sand, snow, ice and rock sculpting, among many other credentials.

2019 teams: China (Yan Zhang), China (Wang Haifeng), Ecuador, France, Germany (Agrawarl), Germany (Theil), Great Britain, India, Italy, JAPAN, Mexico, Mongolia (Tserendesh), Turkey, USA-Colorado, USA-Breckenridge Colorado, USA-Wisconsin

About the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships

Aerial Shot of International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge. Breckenridge snow sculptures.
The International Snow Sculpture Championships is one of the most popular events of the year.

Snow carving in Breckenridge dates back to the late 1960s and early 1970s. Now in its 29th year, the sculptures have progressed. Throughout the five days and roughly 96 hours of sculpting, teams create enormous works of art from 12-foot-tall, 25-ton blocks of machine-made Colorado snow.

Artists create their pieces without the use of power tools, internal support structures or colorants. Some teams, such as Team Mexico, prepare for the competition by practicing in sand. One of the unique aspects of this event is style- some teams cultivate abstract pieces, while others are very realistic. Other creations are inspired by the culture of their country or even have a social and political significance.

The free event gives rise to a temporary outdoor sculpture gallery in the center of downtown Breckenridge. At the close of the competition, judges award Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes, along with the Artists’ Choice award. Two categories are open to public voting: the People’s Choice and Kids’ Choice Awards. To vote, simply text the code associated with that piece. As the event progresses, keep an eye out on the @GoBreck social pages to vote for your favorites in the Social Media Award. Winners receive no money; instead, they receive recognition throughout the international snow sculpting community.

Schedule

The sculpting event takes place at the Riverwalk Center, located at 150 W. Adams Avenue.

Stomping Week: January 15-18, 2019
International Snow Sculpture Championships: January 21-25, 2019
Snow Sculpture Viewing Weekend (weather permitting): January 25-30, 2019

6 Fun Facts

  1. Teams use home-made tools, for example, a modified cheese grater from their kitchen cabinets
  2. This is the 28th year of the Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge
  3. In the past, Team Argentina was the only team with all female artists
  4. The blocks of snow are created by stomping the snow…by foot. We call it “Stomping Week”
  5. The sculptures are supported ONLY by snow. There are no internal supports allowed

By the Numbers

  • 4: artists per team
  • 12 feet: height of each blank block before sculpting begins
  • 96 hours: total time allowed for competitors to sculpt across the 5 days of competition
  • 250: teams are invited to compete; only 16 are selected
  • 400 tons: total amount of snow to create blocks for 16 teams
  • 1990: the first year of the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships
  • 50,000 pounds: weight of each block before sculpting begins

More information

As the event gets closer, visit the event page for more detailed information such as schedule, a program of this year’s teams, and more on the Breckenridge snow sculptures. To learn more about the arts and culture scene in Breckenridge, visit the Arts and Culture page.

By Breck Editorial

The Breckenridge Tourism Office works to enhance and promote the unique character and experience of Breckenridge as a world-renowned destination resort and to represent, serve and perpetuate the common interest and character of its membership and community.

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