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Photos: The process behind the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breck

Artists start with twelve-foot-tall, twenty-ton blocks of machine-made Colorado snow.
Artists start with twelve-foot-tall, twenty-ton blocks of machine-made Colorado snow.
Carl Scofield

Snow is blown into molds, and volunteers stomp it down (hence the term "Stomping Week") until the mold is full of a compact block of snow.

Teams are required to submit a proposal; if it's accepted, they then work on the sculptures during the allotted time. No power tools are allowed, so everything must be hand-carved.

Team Wisconsin/Milwaukee drew on Greek mythology for their 2011 piece, "The Gorgons Head."
Team Wisconsin/Milwaukee drew on Greek mythology for their 2011 piece, "The Gorgons Head."
Carl Scofield

 

Pieces can be abstract and whimsical, too.
Pieces can be abstract and whimsical, too.
Carl Scofield
An outdoor gallery arises in Breckenridge.
An outdoor gallery arises in Breckenridge.
Carl Scofield
A member of Team Mexico works on their 2011 sculpture, "Alebrije" which went on to win gold.
A member of Team Mexico works on their 2011 sculpture, "Alebrije" which went on to win gold.
Carl Scofield

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