Canadian team captures Breckenridge snow sculpture contest |

Canadian team captures Breckenridge snow sculpture contest

Caitlin Row
Breckenridge , CO Colorado
Special to the Daily/Carl ScofieldFirst place goes to Team Canada, Yukon with "Family Reunion" a sculpture of elders dancing around an intricately carved totem pole, swirling their button blankets and calling upon their ancestors to impart their wisdom for the people of today.

BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado ” Team Canada/Yukon won the 19th annual Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado this weekend with a stunning snow statue of Native American elders dancing around an intricately carved totem pole.

Without power tools, internal support structures or coloring agents, the five-member team turned the giant block of snow into an image of swirling blankets and fearsome animal masks, besting 15 teams from nine countries.

The sculpture’s story is pertinent to Donald Watt, the winning team’s leader, because his own grandfather passed down carving knowledge to his father, who then gave the skills to Watt.

“We’ve been doing this for dozens of years as a team,” added Watt. “Conditions weren’t favorable but not impossible to work with.”

The winning team is currently on a world tour ” they’re participating in contests in China, the United States and Canada this season.

This year’s sculptures faced challenges caused by unseasonably warm temperatures and featured meticulous detail and the sculptors’ focus on story-telling, said Jenn Cram, one of this year’s judges and the project manager of the Arts District of Breckenridge.

“The judging was very difficult this year, given the quality of all of the pieces. But Team Canada/Yukon’s execution, attention to details and the spiritual nature of the sculpture set it apart from the others,” Cram said.

Team China placed second with “The March of Spring,” an elaborate sculpture featuring a dancing fairy, butterflies and blooming flowers.

Team Wyoming took third with “Trunks Optional,” a humorous sculpture of an elephant weighing down a diving board while contemplating a plunge into a pond.

The People’s Choice and Kids’ Choice 2009 awards both went to Team Alaska for its sculpture, “Alaska Viewmaster Trailer.” It depicted a giant bear peering into a dwarfed camping trailer.

Those awards were selected by spectators, who voted with donations of dollar bills.

The 2009 Artists’ Choice Award also went to Team China for “The March of Spring.”

Tragedy struck Team Ontario’s sculpture of Adam and Eve standing under a tree, with a show-ending collapse of the sculpture soon after judging.

“It can happen with projects that take risks,” said Carly Grimes, director of public relations for the Breckenridge Resort Chamber . ” … Its support couldn’t hold it. They (the team) were bummed, but they were able to chuckle about it, because they knew it was a risky sculpture.”

The sculptures will remain on display at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge until Sunday, weather permitting.

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at

Support Local Journalism