Prepping for Wintersculpt 2019

by Rose Laudicina
Matthew Smith and Maura Trumble creating clay models of their proposed snow sculpture designs for this year’s Wintersculpt submission during CCY Architects internal design charette process.
Courtesy of CCY Architects

If you go ...

What: Wintersculpt 2019 Where: South Mill Street Mall near the fountain, downtown Aspen When: Teams can begin sculpting Thursday, Jan. 10, at 3 p.m. and continue throughout the day Friday, Jan. 11, concluding at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12. The public is invited to watch participating teams throughout the process. Judging begins at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday and awards are announced at 3 p.m. on stage in front of the Wagner Park clock.

Wintersculpt is back! After being canceled last year due to unfavorable conditions (unseasonably warm weather and a lack of snow doesn’t really bode well for a snow-sculpting competition), the contest hosted by Anderson Ranch Arts Center and the city of Aspen starts Thursday, Jan. 10, and runs through Saturday. Teams have 48 hours to carve an 8-by-8-square-foot snow cube into their sculpture inspired by Bauhaus design principles.

One of the groups particularly excited about this year’s Bauhaus theme is Peak Season. Coordinated by CCY Architects’ Alex Griffin and John Schenck, the team is looking forward to spending time flexing their creative muscles outside the office.

“It’s great to connect with each other outside our typical projects,” CCY Architects team member Matt Smith said. “The fact that it’s a sculpture and design is involved lends itself to architects … and the fact that it’s Bauhaus is perfect.”

CCY Architects participated in Wintersculpt 2017, earning a second-place award for their snow sculpture “Abundant Immersion.” This year, they are hoping their sculpture titled “Futura!” will catapult them to first place.

Smith came up with the teams “Futura!” design concept after winning a design charrette—a 30-minute period where office members created miniature sculptures out of clay and then presented them to the whole office to be voted on.

An old Bauhaus poster was the inspiration for Smith’s design, which relies on simple, bold shapes, interacting in complex ways.

“I think this sculpture is going to be challenging,” Smith said. “To be successful it has to be pretty accurate and crafted very well,” which can be a hard task to accomplish for the Wintersculpt teams since they are all made up of amateur snow sculptors.

“The goal is that the end result is very crisp, because the shapes are very minimal,” Griffin added.

In order to take the design from a 3-D clay sculpture to a life-size snow sculpture, which, according to Griffin, could take up to 36 hours for the five- or six-member team to complete, Peak Season will use an ice saw, plywood forms and finishing tools.