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

Teams working into the evening during the 2011 championships.
Teams working into the evening during the 2011 championships.
Carl Scofield

We're in the middle of "Stomping Week," the lead-up to the International Snow Sculpture Championships hosted each year by Breckenridge. The Riverwalk Center is being adorned by giant blocks of snow to be hand-carved into works of art by numerous teams from around the world; the sculpting will begin on Tuesday, January 24, finished on Saturday, January 28, and will remain on display (weather permitting) through Sunday, February 5. Keep reading to see some photos and an explanation of how the sculptures are created every year.

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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