Every January Breckenridge attracts a special group of snow lovers, armed with wooden spoons and cheese graters instead of skis and snowboards. The Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championship attracts the best professional sculptors and snow artists in the world. This year the event is celebrate its 27th anniversary starting on January 24 to January 28 .
The competition is comprised of 16 teams. 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. This year's 16 selected teams are China, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, India, Italy, Mexico, Mongolia, Mongolia, Sweden, Turkey, USA-Breckenridge, USA-Loveland, USA-Vermont, USA-Wisconsin. Some teams, such as Team Mexico, prepare for the competition by practicing in sand.
Artists create their pieces without the use of power tools, internal support structures or colorants. Instead they use home-made tools, for example, a modified cheese grater from their kitchen cabinets One of the unique aspects of this event is style. Some teams cultivate very 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 blocks of snow are created by stomping the snow by foot. The week proceeding the event is called by locals “Stomping Week.” Each blanck block of snow before carving is 12 feet heigh and weighs 50,000 pounds. The competitors are given 65 hours of total sculpting time over 5 days to complete their projects. The last 16 hours of the competition are spent carving through the night until the judging at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.