Snow Returns

The snow returns. Winter is definitely in charge and not us. At this years Winter Carnival snow sculpture competition, the tables were turned and people were in charge of the snow.
Planning seemed to be the key. There were small models and paper sketches for the teams to follow.
I always say hi and ask if I may take some photos. I was looking at the “Goyle” and met Suzanne who told me that this was her and her siblings first ever snow sculpting experience. I photographed their team at work and jotted down her email to send her a photo.
Then I was off to the next team and another hello. Everyone was friendly and willing to stop what they were doing and turn for an action snow portrait.
With my camera and note pad, I began to feel that there was more than a visual story to capture. After looking into their frosted faces on my computer I wanted to learn about why they create snow art and who they were. So, when I emailed my photos to the team members, I also I sent along a questionnaire.
I’m sharing the responses with their permission. I hope you like this winter competition as much as I did. I will send an update when the other teams send their responses.

“Goyle – The Vulcan Gate Keeper”    Suzanne Beigle

Why this particular theme for your sculpture? The three of us are siblings and our entire family LOVES gargoyles!  We decided to make ours a Vulcan-gargoyle because they are our favorite part of the Winter Carnival – they always seem to have the most fun!  Our goal was to win the attention of the Vulcans but winning the Vulcan-Award was like a DREAM come true, especially for the rookie-team!!
Are you new to snow sculpture or are you a veteran? Total rookies!!  Out of our sibling team of three – only our brother tried a sculpture once before, but the other two of us never attempted to sculpt prior to this event.  Had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  Almost fell over when we initially saw the size of the 6-ft. blocks!  It was much harder than we had ever imagined!  But also much more fun too!
Have you worked with this team before? Being that we are siblings, we have worked, played, and created together in many ways over the years, just never in a competition and certainly never as a sculpting team!  We got along very well considering the amount of hours we put in together!
Who was the first in your team to gather the group together? My brother, this was his idea.  It was his dream to WOW the Vulcans.  I only got roped into this as a pay-back because I made him and all of my siblings go to a dude-ranch for my 50th birthday celebration last year and he had to endure a weeks-worth of horse-back-riding…he swore he would “get me back for his stiff-sore body somehow…”  I guess this all worked out about even as none of us could move after the first day of carving snow.
What did you like the most about the process? The challenge of working backwards, it tricks your head and mind somewhat.  It is like working with negative space carving inward, detailing into the depths of the block itself.  It was amazing how the sculpture emerged right before your eyes, not only the one you were working on, but your neighbors as well…they seemed to continually transform, shift and change.  It was as if they came to life almost.
If you were to change anything, what would it be? Only one critical tool was missing for us in the process.  It was a cable used for the initial cuts.  A neighbor borrowed us their cable and if/when we do this again, we would make sure we had one for ourselves.
Your professions normally are? Brother is a concrete pumper; sister is a property manager and I am an energy practitioner.
Will you be back next year? Already holding discussions about what to carve next time….and totally looking forward to it!
“Wings Of Frozen Fire”    Kyle Slivnik
Why this particular theme for your sculpture? We went for the Phoenix in flames idea originally to represent the idea of rebirth and the coming of spring. We felt that the design would provide a different experience from different vantage points. From behind, the piece displayed very fluid flames while the opposite revealed the bird emerging from the fire. We strive for multiple experiences as viewpoints change.
Are you new to snow sculpture or are you a veteran? 2011 is our third season of snow sculpting. I guess you could consider us to be the newbies on the circuit when compared to those who have been doing this for decades. This project was our second largest, while being our 6th overall piece.
Have you worked with this team before? David Prom and I have been sculpting together since the beginning of our snow sculpting endeavors. We have had help from friends and classmates in the past. Jim, who is Davids uncle, happened to be interested in giving sculpting a try. Since having a third person to help makes the process easier, we gladly invited him to see what sculpting was like. Jim was very helpful, adding an extra set of eyes, some extra muscle, and being out PR/ Hype man for the weekend, lol. As for The Snowkitects name, this is our second year using the name.
Who was the first in your team to gather the group together? I originally pitched the idea to David in late 2008 after a professor told me about the Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg, Canada. We made a submission and were luckily accepted with very little experience under our belts. We literally cited snowboard jump building as our sculpting experience in the application.
What did you like the most about the process? Personally, I love being outside in the snow. The  whole process of being hands on and creating something so unique with snow has always been something that makes you feel good about the project when its done. For me, its the “hands on, let’s do this thing” mentality really does it for me. David is more of an artist than I, so I would assume he’s all about the end product as well. I’d like to think that we both enjoy the atmosphere and the creativity that snow sculpting provides. And it’s a unique medium, you don’t see too many people working with snow like we do.
If you were to change anything, what would it be? Well with this project, we’d have liked to have changed the judges minds. Recognition for a job well done via some competition hardware would have been epic.. Being our second competition, we’re still not quite sure what judges look for specifically. We felt the contrasting scales of bird and flame were a good call, but I guess they look for all the detail. The piece came out the way we had envisioned and intended, so we were happy with the finished product.
Your professions normally are? David is a landscape designer and sales rep for a landscaping company in the twin cities area. I am a community planner and landscape architect for the Grand Forks Air Force Base. We both have degrees in landscape architecture and environmental design from North Dakota State University in Fargo.
Will you be back next year? It seems like there are a lot of returning teams at the carnival. We feel like an infusion of some new blood and a changing of the champs is in order 🙂 We’re planning on coming back to give it another go.
“Minnie and Paul”     Cory Sletten
Why this particular theme for your sculpture? -We hoped it would be a crowd favorite after the inaugural season at Target Field.
Are you new to snow sculpture or are you a veteran? I am new but my team members have been doing this for 4 and 5 years.
Have you worked with this team before? -No, one of the original team members couldn’t make it so they needed a substitute.
Who was the first in your team to gather the group together?   -Cam Edmonds
What did you like most about the process? -Spending a weekend with good friends and seeing all of the people come out.  I was hesitant to join at first because of my lack of experience but in the end it was a great experience.
If you were to change anything, what would it be? Hold the event in a location more central to the rest of the Winter Carnival.
Your professions normally are? I sell building materials, Cam and Walker are both carpenters.
Will you be back next year? Possibly, I may form my own team.

“Queen Of Hearts”    Josh Baller

Why this particular theme for your sculpture? We strive to have our sculpture tell a story and that concept drives our idea generation. The theme itself came from one of my teammates fixating on doing a scene from Alice in Wonderland, and my idea of doing a scene from Aesop’s Fables or some other set of tales. Part of the draw of this sculpture was the technical aspects, the tall thin cards and their accompanying spears.
Are you new to snow sculpture or are you a veteran? I am a 6 year veteran of snow sculpting as is one of my teammates.
Have you worked with this team before? One of my teammates, Bryan, and I have been sculpting together since we started six years ago. Another sculptor was with us the other five years but is currently enrolled in medical school in New York and was unable to make it back this year.
Who was the first in your team to gather the group together? I started the team. I was interested in sculpting and drew together my friends/roommates to be my team.
What did you like the most about the process? The sculpting process? I think my team really enjoys creating small objects to part of the scene. An earlier sculpture was of a covered wagon stuck in the snow. We had a blast with that one because once the wagon itself was done we were able to fill it with crates and bags of flour along with a spare wagon wheel and other interesting objects. The smaller objects are a great way to ad lib some personalization and detail for the sculpture.
If you were to change anything, what would it be? We really ran out of time this year, the edges of the sculpture are very rough and a bit uneven and there was no where near the detail we were hoping for.
Your professions normally are? The standard crew is two PhD Students (A Mathematician and a Computational Biologist) and a Medical Student. Our substitute this year works in 3D graphics.
Will you be back next year? Definitely


About Mike Krivit Photography
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