Photos: Wisconsin teams nab multiple podium spots at 31st International Snow Sculpture Championships
Team Mexico’s first-place streak has ended at the 31st International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge. Instead, two teams from Wisconsin received the first- and third-place honors.
Winners were announced Friday at the awards ceremony held at the Riverwalk Center.
The first-place Wisconsin team was captained by Brett Tomczak and included Jeff Shawhan, Jim Malkowski and Gregory Brulla. Their sculpture, The Digital Divide, depicts two hands — one human and one robotic — coming out of the ground interacting with a wall of binary code in the middle.
“It’s amazing because over the last 12 years, we’ve been here eight times, and of all those times, we got third place once, artist’s choice once — which was really nice — but never first,” Malkowski said. “So we’re really happy about it.”
In second came Team Germany with its sculpture Float. On the team was Franziska Agrawal, Katja Kulenkampff, Gabriela Kulenkampff and Dan Miller-Lionberg.
The abstract piece is made up of five rectangular blocks stacked on top of one another and facing different directions. The work also won the Lothar Luboschik Artists’ Choice Award, meaning it received the most votes from fellow competitors.
The second Wisconsin team won third. Members Mark Hurst, Glen Vogt, Mike Nehs and team captain Neal Vogt constructed a scene of a bee visiting a flower for a sculpture titled Bee Sustainability.
Nine teams were selected to compete out of 250 total. In addition to the three winners and Mexico, there was a third Wisconsin team and two from Colorado as well as groups from Ecuador and New York.
Beginning Monday, Jan. 24, each group had 94 hours to work on the 12-foot-high, 25-ton blocks of snow using any equipment available — except for power tools. It is the first time the annual competition has been held since it was canceled in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
There are no cash prizes for the International Snow Sculpture Championships. Instead, the winners each receive a medallion, trophy and ribbon.
The viewer’s choice award is still to be determined. Guests can vote for their favorite online at GoBreck.com/vote. Voting closes at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29.
The public can view the sculptures at Tiger Dredge parking lot, next to the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge, now through 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2. Sculptures will be illuminated nightly.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the event will have one-way paths, and free reservations are required for certain times Saturday, Jan. 29. People can reserve a viewing time slot at 10 a.m., noon or 2 p.m. online at GoBreck.com/ISSC. Reservations are not needed outside of those peak times.