Don't Call Them Snowmen: International Snow Sculpture Championships

January festival brings outdoor art gallery, photography workshops to Breckenridge, Colo.

Dec 19, 2013, 13:00 ET from GoBreck

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo., Dec. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Snow artists from around the world will compete Jan. 21 through Jan. 25, 2014 in Breckenridge, Colo. at the International Snow Sculpture Championships. Sculptures, which remain on display through Feb. 2, 2014, start as 12-foot-tall, 20-ton blocks of snow. Using only hand tools, artists achieve finished pieces across five days (65 hours) of sculpting. Teams competing include Catalonia-Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain-Wales, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Mongolia, Mongolia-Ulaanbaatar, Russia, USA-Colorado/Black Forest, USA-Colorado/Breckenridge, USA-Vermont and USA-Wisconsin. Visit to see submission sketches, team bios and to follow teams online during competition week.

A panel of event founders, organizers and artists selected the teams from nearly 40 submissions; they considered past performance, team resume and overall sculpting experience, among other criteria.

"It is not surprising to see teams from many other competitions around the world," said the event's co-founder Rob Neyland. "The Breckenridge event has become one of the notches world-class snow carving teams need on their tool belts."

The winter festival gives rise to a temporary outdoor sculpture gallery in downtown Breckenridge, Colo. At the close of the competition, an esteemed judging panel awards Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes. Additional awards include Artists' Choice and two categories open to public voting, People's Choice and Kids' Choice. Winners receive no money, rather recognition throughout the international snow sculpting community.

New for 2014, Colorado Mountain College and photographer Katie Girtman will offer one- and three-day photography workshops that focus on light and shooting the winter landscape. Sessions culminate with a virtual exhibit. Visit for detailed event information.

Snow carving in Breckenridge began as a local pastime during the town's winter carnival – Ullr Fest – in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The founders of Breckenridge's International Snow Sculpture Championships are still involved in the event, which is attended annually by more than 32,000 people.

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Plan a snow sculpture trip now for the best lodging deals. Visit or call 888-251-2417 to browse winter lodging specials.

GoBreck is the destination marketing organization for the Town of Breckenridge. Connect on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and updates from Breckenridge, Colorado.


Video with caption: "Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge." Video available at:

Image with caption: "People flock to the International Snow Sculpture Championships, which gives rise to a temporary outdoor art gallery in downtown Breckenridge, Colo. Over 65 hours, artists hand-carve the sculptures, which each start out as a 12-foot tall, 20-ton block of compacted snow. The 2014 festival begins Jan. 21. Visit for more information. (Nathan Bilow / GoBreck)."  Image available at:

Image with caption: "A member of Team Great Britain-Wales works on their piece at the 2013 International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colo. Artists begin by blocking out the main features of their sculpture and save the details for the final hours of competition. The team will return for the 2014 competition, which begins Jan. 21. Visit for more information. (Carl Scofield / GoBreck)." Image available at: