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Mother Nature’s medium

Students make snow sculptures on Lincoln Avenue

Alisha Williams

Each year about this time, as the snow begins to look a little drab and hopes of an escape from winter begin to stir, Steamboat Springs turns to Winter Carnival.

Thursday, as part of the carnival, high school students competed in the carnival’s snow sculpture contest. Their creations can be found downtown along Lincoln Avenue.

At 8 a.m., the teams set out to build their sculptures. Bundled up and lugging tools, the workers began. Huge blocks of snow and ice slowly transformed into creative sculptures — along the way, though, students learned to improvise.

“Someone came up to us and told us ours looked like a bug,” Steamboat Springs High School junior Kelli Parnell said about her group’s banana split sculpture, “and another guy told us it looked like a pair of beady eyes.”

Parnell’s team finally added colorful syrup to the snow, and suddenly, it looked more like a banana split.

The sculpting process could be cold, frustrating and exhausting, but the students seemed to enjoy being out of school.

The teams worked until about 3 p.m. on the sculptures, at first using shovels and trowels to cut away big chunks to form a general shape. Then the sculptors switched to smaller tools to chip in the details.

The theme for the 91st annual Winter Carnival is “Escape from Cabin Fever” and with it came tropical themes, from fish to fruit, while others stuck to classic subjects such as bears, penguins, snowmen and igloos.

Some teams brainstormed sculpture ideas beforehand; others counted on last-minute artistic impulses.

A team of seniors, who built a tropical pineapple sculpture wearing sunglasses, allowed Rory Clow, Claire Schumacher and Chris Lodge to sketch the idea first. But they had some trouble agreeing on the final product. The boys thought it should have a Christmas tree on top, but others did not, so Clow put her artistic talents to use and created pineapplelike “hair” to top off the sculpture.

Another team also changed its plans.

Senior Eric Vanderbloemen’s team members had planned to build a sandcastle.

“We were going with the cabin-fever theme, but our block of snow was leaning to one side, so we had to change it into the Leaning Tower of Pisa,” he said.

A Christian Heritage school team changed its plans after it was inspired by its location in front of Cantina. They sculpted a sombrero.

The sculptures were judged later in the day by members of the Downtown Business Association.

Alisha Williams is a senior at Steamboat Springs High School and an intern

with the Steamboat Pilot & Today.


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