Our view: They’re back | SteamboatToday.com

Our view: They’re back

At issue:

After a year’s hiatus, the snow sculpture competition is returning to Winter Carnival.

Our view:

Thanks to community groups, like the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, the tradition will return this winter.

Winter Carnival is a Steamboat Springs tradition that can trace its roots back 104 years

to the days of Norwegian immigrant Carl Howelsen, who started the celebration as a way to offer locals and area ranchers a welcome respite from Northwest Colorado’s long winters.

At issue:

After a year’s hiatus, the snow sculpture competition is returning to Winter Carnival.

Today, the tradition lives on, and many of the early events, like skijoring and ski jumping are still taking place. Over the years, other signature activities have been added and become part of the almost week-long celebration, which this year runs from Feb. 8 to 12.

The annual snow sculpture competition along Lincoln Avenue, which involved students from the high school creating snow art in downtown Steamboat, was one of the events that quickly became a Winter Carnival favorite. Last year, the sculptures were suspended due to a lack of participation tied to a change in the school calendar.

The community learned about plans to scrap the snow sculpting too late to save the competition last year, and the outdoor art was sorely missed. As Main Street Steamboat Executive Director Lisa Popovich stated when talking about the potential return of the sculptures, “Sometimes, when stuff goes away, we realize how much we miss it.”

In typical Steamboat fashion, various groups within the community came together this past year to make sure the sculptures were back for the 2017 Winter Carnival, and earlier this month, it was officially announced the snow-sculpting competition would return to the carnival’s line-up.

We’re thrilled to see the tradition return, and we think it’s very fitting that the Steamboat Springs Art Council and Steamboat Springs Creative District are orchestrating the effort with the support of Main Street Steamboat, the city of Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Springs High School, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and the Tread of Pioneers Museum.

The snow-sculpting competition leverages the talents and energy of the young people in our community as they work together to create a temporary display of public art. And we expect, after a year’s hiatus, the snow sculpting will be better than ever.

For the first time, high school snow-sculpting teams from across Routt County will be competing for scholarship prizes totaling $5,000, and they also will have the opportunity to improve their sculpting skills and artistic vision through free workshops offered by acclaimed local sculptor Sandy Graves. The contest has also been opened to the entire community, so businesses, organizations or individuals can apply to participate.

This added incentive and support should boost interest and participation in snow sculpting, and we think it’s a great project to showcase Steamboat’s love for snow and it’s passion for the arts. The resurrection of the popular competition is also a prime example of this community’s ability to collaborate and find creative solutions to issues as they arise.

So if you’ve always wanted to try your hand at snow carving, now’s your chance. The Steamboat Springs Arts Council will be accepting applications and design ideas through Jan. 30. Winning designs will be chosen by the Art Council’s Visual Arts Committee and Winter Carnival partners. Applications can be downloaded at steamboatarts.org/winter-carnival-snow-sculpture.

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