ASPEN - Ask a middle schooler what "vintage" means, and you're bound to get all sorts of answers.
For six teams of local kids, their ideas are set in, well, ice: Mr. Potato Head, rotary telephones, old-fashioned cars and more.
"These kids are so smart, we figured we'd let them interpret 'vintage' for themselves," said Sonya Taylor, children's and outreach coordinator for Anderson Ranch Arts Center, which sponsors the event. "It's really amazing what they created."
Kids from a half-dozen area schools - Aspen Middle School, Aspen Community School, Aspen Country Day School, Basalt Middle School, Carbondale Middle School and Carbondale Community School - spent Friday morning shoveling, carving, whittling and fine-tuning their interpretation of this year's Wintersköl theme, "Vintage Spirit," into blocks of ice.
The annual Kidsculpt event, sponsored by Anderson Ranch as a young person's version of the Wintersculpt competition, is always a highlight of the weekend's events.
"We think Wintersculpt and Kidsculpt are a great way for everybody - kids, the community, not necessarily artists - to get out and enjoy the snow and Colorado and make art," Taylor said.
And though it was bitter cold on the Mill Street Mall Friday, not one kid could be heard complaining about the work ahead of them. Rather, they dug in and got the job done.
"Teachers sign up year after year, because the kids love it," said Taylor, adding that all participating schools get a $250 grant toward their art program from the Aspen Thrift Shop. "It helps kids realize that whether you sculpt in clay or snow or paint or whatever, art is important."
Now that their hard work is done - and the awards have been doled out, attention turns to the other snow sculptures coming to life on the mall. Those larger theme-based ice creations will be judged Saturday at 4 p.m., with the winners announced at 5 p.m. at CP Burger.
The awards ceremony is just one event in a day filled with Wintersköl fun, all in keeping with the "Vintage Spirit" theme and the traditions behind Aspen's annual "toast to winter."