Summit Vacations is proud to announce that the 2016 26th Annual Budweiser International Sculpture Championships were a huge success this year at Breckenridge, Colorado! Much fun was had by the many artist and art viewers throughout this great event. Testing the boundaries of packed snow with gravity defying sculptures, groups of artists from around the world set about one-upping each other in terms of creativity, originality and execution.
The competition got off to a great start on January 18th with stomping week. For days on end volunteers jumped in giant crates filled with snow and sleet, traipsing and tramping around in order to compact the loads down into gargantuan 12’x12’ blocks. A total of four days the blocks sat, solidifying into cubes perfect for sculpting needs.
Fifteen teams from around the globe arrived in Breckenridge, plans in hand, ready to break out their sculpting and sanding tools. Four teams hailed from the USA, one representing the state of Vermont, one from Wisconsin, and two from Colorado (Breckenridge and Loveland). International teams included one from Canada, Estonia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Mexico, Switzerland, and Ukraine, with two teams each coming from Germany and Mongolia.
For five long days, starting at 11:00 am on Tuesday, January 26th- January 30th, the artists worked in all manner of conditions. Wind, sunshine, snow, and varied temperatures tested the limits of our artists and of the material itself. Sculpting by hand, they managed to create some of the most beautiful and inventive pieces of snow sculpture our eyes have ever beheld. Our hard working teams put in plenty of elbow grease, clocking in at 65 hours of labor, sometimes working through the night!
Most teams made it to the 10:00 am Saturday, January 30th deadline. Unfortunately, several pieces came partially crashing down. We commend all these teams for their adventurous spirits and look forward to enhanced designs next year.
Our temporary outdoor art gallery was open for a week of viewing January 30th- February 7th. Folks from all over came and witnessed these awesome artworks, casting their vote for fan favorite by donating one dollar to the work they liked best. A happy surprise was for us when the People’s Choice award was awarded to our very own Team Breckenridge! Their sculpture, “The Widow Maker”, depicts an old miner drilling into the mountain side. Team Wisconsin won the Social Media Choice Award and Artists’ Choice with their altarpiece sculpture, “Dia de los Muertos.”
A select group of event judges reviewed each work and used their trained eyes to hand pick the overall championship winners. In third place, winning the bronze award, came team USA- Loveland. Their sculpture depicted a large elephant head sitting on top of an oversized metal bolt snow replica, aptly titled “Bolting from Extinction.” Second place silver was awarded to team Switzerland with “Converse,” a modern looking sculpture consisting of two round structures inversely mirroring one another.
Ultimately, it was the USA-Vermont team that won the hearts of the judges with their uniquely eccentric and boldly designed snow sculpture, “Rhonda and Her Recycling Robo-Octopus.” Judges applauded team USA-Vermont for creating a work that addressed the issue of ocean conservation, a problem that affects us all globally, and the manner in which they skillfully executed a design which appealed to all ages.
The director of public programs and engagement for Breckenridge Creative Arts and judge coordinator Jenn Cram was quoted as saying about the winning piece, “Vermont’s sculpture is visually delightful, it appeals to the child in all of us while addressing a serious global issue. The piece combined both technical risk and a high level of detail. It is superbly executed in 360 degrees.”
Awards were announced and given out at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. The mood was jovial and everyone was glad to have had the chance to participate in what was once again a successful year of art, snow and good sportsmanship. All teams were rewarded with free meals, lodging and travel stipends. Winners earned the respect of the community of international snow sculpture artists and a medal to boot.
On Sunday, February 7, a little after 9 p.m. under a dark, moonless sky, the remaining sculptures were returned from whence they came, and where they will remain... until next year!
The 2016 Annual Budweiser International Sculpture Championships were so much fun, that we are already underway preparing for the prospective event. Mark your 2017 calendars on January 24th to 28th for an eventful week of exciting, heart racing sculpting and on January 28th to February 5th for a week of viewing beautiful, amazing, technically sound and conceptually strong art.
People's Choice Award: Team Breckenridge - "The Widow Maker"
Artists’ Choice Award: Team USA-Wisconsin - “Dia de los Muertos”
Third Place Bronze Winner: Team USA-Loveland - “Bolting from Extinction”
Second Place Silver Winner: Team Switzerland - “Converse”
First Place Gold Winner: Team USA-Vermont - “Rhonda and Her Recycling Robo-Octopus”