Snow cool: sculptors carve a winner
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Tom Alpern and his team of young snow sculptors carved $2,000 out of a block of snow this week on Aspen’s downtown malls.
The group were the winners of the 16th annual Wintersculpt competition in conjunction with Wintersköl. The event is sponsored by Anderson Ranch Arts Center.
“He he he,” a bleary-eyed Alpern laughed in mock maniacal gloat over his win Saturday. “That’s all I have to say.”
The father of two put more than 20 hours of work into the project, but said he couldn’t have done it without help from daughter Sadie, son Eli, and their friends ” including Slater McLean, and Beau Cameron.
“As soon as they get out of school, I’ve got my team,” Alpern said Friday while sculpting.
The competition was fierce this year, Alpern said.
But the group’s massive snow carving of witch doused with a bucket of water titled “I’m Melting” won the judging and a $2,000 check. The statue will be literally “melting” in front of Pacifica Seafood Brasserie in Aspen for months to come.
Ben Sargent and a team of interns from Plum TV ” including Scott Jamison, Kate Slomkowski and Andy Curtis ” won second place and a $1,500 check for their depiction of a plumber working on a porcelain “throne.”
A third place check for $750 went to a group from Anderson Ranch for their sculpture “Crunchy,” a horned, mythological being combining elephant, dinosaur and bee parts.
Judges chose six designs from submissions, and the other three contestants earned $500 each for just participating, including The Aspen Times’ own Ksenia Beskibalova and her group’s dragon sculpture, as well as Bernie Boettcher’s swan, and Greg Wellens and friends with “Poochie Purse,” a depiction of dogs popping out of a handbag.
Beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday, teams had 48 hours to transform blocks of snow measuring 8 feet on each surface into something magical, and some carved around the clock.
“I didn’t sleep much last night,” Alpern said.
“Pretty much anything goes. Everybody submits a design, and they pick the ones they want to use for Wintersculpt,” said Boettcher as he worked on his massive swan on Friday.
Boettcher, who earned an “artable mention” and $500 check, has won and placed in the past, he said.
“They invite the artists in and everybody goes for it,” Boettcher said. Designs are judged on originality, technical excellence, and use of space, according to Anderson Ranch staff.
Claudia Potamkin, a philanthropist, conceived of the event in 1993.
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There is a lot of pent up energy among hikers and bikers to get into the high country, but snow fields, avalanche debris and high stream crossings are presenting challenges later than usual. Forest rangers with the Aspen-Sopris District provide trail condition reports that are updated each week so hikers and backpackers aren’t caught unaware.