The New Year Brings the International Snow Sculpting Championships Back to Breckenridge

Breckenridge Colorado is pure magic during the Winter months and is even more so when the Snow Sculpting Championships begin. The sculptures come alive at night when lit with brilliant colors and people enjoy the transformations from giant cubes of snow become museum pieces.

​​The winter season is seen as cold and dreary by some individuals, but many others look upon winter as a magical season. There are quite a few activities that are enjoyed during the winter months, such as snow skiing, sledding, making snowmen, going on a sleigh ride, or just drinking some hot chocolate next to a roaring fire in the evening. Another fun, and incredibly creative, activity is making snow sculptures, and the annual International Snow Sculpting Championships makes the picturesque town of Breckenridge, Colorado, (population of 4,749) the center of the snow sculpting universe in late January. (1)

2016 marks the 26th year that the International Snow Sculpting Championships has taken place in the resort town of Breckenridge. (2) Local Realtor Ron Shelton of Breckenridge Associates Real Estate was one of the founders of this premier winter event for Colorado. The overall dates for the ISSC are from January 18th, 2016, through February 7th, 2016. (3) During this time, teams from all over the world will arrive to compete with one another to showcase their ingenuity and creativity. Proper planning is utterly essential as the artists will have to create their chilly masterpieces without the aid of power tools, colorants, or internal support structures. Needless to say, one wrong choice can lead to complete disaster. The actual sculpting will take place in a mere 65 hours from January 26th through January 30th. (4)

Locals, such as Realtor Ron Shelton of Breckenridge Associates Real Estate, knows firsthand the difficulty that participating teams face in creating their works of art. The blocks of snow that are used measure 12 feet tall, 10 feet long, and 10 feet wide and weigh in at 40,000 pounds each. In all, there are approximately 320 tons of snow being used for the International Snow Sculpting Championships this year. 2016 finds 16 teams from 12 different countries competing for first prize. While there are teams from America, the rest of the world is well represented with teams from Germany, France, Mexico, Canada, Finland, Estonia, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. (5)

While the actual snow sculpting competition takes place from January 26th through the 30th, local residents, such as Realtor Ron Shelton of Breckenridge Associates Real Estate, know that there will be plenty to do before, during, and after this time. The festivities begin with Technical Week on January 18th where one can see how the blocks of snow are made and are allowed to settle into a more consistent medium before being worked upon later. January 23rd is the date for the Block Party that celebrates the conclusion of the block building week with a free concert. Kids can get into the action with the Kid's Snow Sculpting Competition that runs from January 23rd through the 26th. The ISSC hits high gear on January 26th as the Sculpting Week begins and lasts through the 30th. Visitors and locals can enjoy the craftsmanship and artistry put on display as teams carve works of art from solid blocks of snow. After judging, the awards are handed out on January 30th. The sculptures remain available for viewing until the night of February 7th whereupon they are removed. Not to be missed during the ISSC is the Fire Arts Festival that runs from January 28th through the 31st. This multi-day exhibition features the primal element of fire through the use of burning sculptures, fiery performances, pyrotechnical effects, and much more throughout the Breckenridge Arts District. (6)

Of the International Snow Sculpting Championships, Realtor Ron Shelton of Breckenridge Associates Real Estate notes, "I cannot begin to express how happy and proud I am to see the ISSC grow from its humble beginnings to the truly international competition it is today. Thousands of tourists and residents flock to Breckenridge to see the incredible world class talent that is on display as silent, snowy sentinels are transformed into works of wonder. I can't help but root for Team Breckenridge, but the competition is always fierce. While you can see the view the snow sculptures after they're done, I heartily recommend viewing them on the night of January 29th as you can bet most teams will be working all night to get those finishing touches completed in time for the final judging. The ISSC is always an incredible blast and a personal highlight of the year for me." (7)

Seeing artists create winter magic by carving solid blocks of snow into imagination-defying works of art is something worth doing. The results from previous years have been breathtaking, so it's a certainty that 2016 will not be any different. Ron Shelton of Breckenridge Associates Real Estate, Ski Country Homes, has long been involved with Sculptures and assured that fun will be had by the whole family.


7) Quote from Realtor Ron Shelton of Breckenridge Associates Real Estate

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