Turning 25-Ton Snow Blocks Into Art: The 2024 International Snow Sculpture Championships

Breckenridge Tourism Office

Contestants from around the world convened in the tiny town of Breckenridge, Colorado, nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains, to go for gold in the 33rd annual International Snow Sculpture Championships this January. 

And when we say snow sculpture, we aren’t referring to Frosty the Snowman figures with coal buttons and carrot noses. Rather, the competing teams are tasked with building stunning, 12-foot-tall artworks from 25-ton blocks of snow using only hand tools (check out how those massive blocks are created). 

Team USA – Wisconsin Breckenridge Tourism Office

Twelve teams competed in the 2024 event: China, Denmark, Ecuador, India, South Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, Mongolia, two from Germany, and two from the United States. 

Beginning the morning of Monday, Jan. 22, the teams had until Friday, Jan. 26 to finish their work, for a total of 94 sculpting hours. At that point, judges began the process of selecting the winners, choosing between the dozen truly awe-inspiring creations. Some were impressive likenesses of humans and animals, others more abstract works of arts, and others representations of the state of society. 

Team USA – Breckenridge Breckenridge Tourism Office

The winners were announced at a free public ceremony that Friday afternoon, and spectators were then welcome to view the completed sculptures through Wednesday, Jan. 31. Two other honors, the Artists’ Choice Award and the People’s Choice Award, were selected by the competing artists and the viewers, respectively. 

This year’s gold medal-winning team was Mexico for their powerful sculpture, titled “The Beggar,” depicting a downtrodden man surrounded by Bitcoins. Per a press release from the the Breckenridge Tourism Office: “In describing their piece, Team Mexico’s message is clear: ‘Without a rich heart, wealth is a hungry beggar.’”

Gold: Team Mexico Breckenridge Tourism Office

Team Mongolia took home the silver medal for their sculpture, “Mother Earth,” while Team Germany-Bavaria earned bronze for their masterpiece, titled “FLOAT.” There are no cash prizes in the competition, but the winners receive trophies and, of course, “bragging rights,” as the tourism office put it. 

Silver: Team Mongolia Breckenridge Tourism Office

The championships were founded in 1990 by Rob Neyland, who playfully shared in a video that he has an alter ego by the name of “Carvin’ Marvin” and explained that the event was created “to help make Breckenridge be known for snow art the world over.” 

Bronze: Team Germany – Bavaria Breckenridge Tourism Office

Scroll to see more photos of this year’s ephemeral snow art. 

Team China Breckenridge Tourism Office
Team India Breckenridge Tourism Office
Team Lithuania Breckenridge Tourism Office
Team Denmark Breckenridge Tourism OFfice
Team Korea Breckenridge Tourism Office
Breckenridge Tourism Office
Team Ecuador Breckenridge Tourism Office

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