Imagine having to create a piece of artwork from 8 cubic feet of compressed snow while having to deal with the tough Alaskan climate. Each year Fur Rendezvous has held a snow sculpture competition wherein competitors do just that. This year’s competition is hosted by GCI, and the weather has proven especially difficult for the creation of the snow sculptures.
Alaska has seen less snowfall this winter than most winter seasons. Obtaining the snow blocks was both difficult and strenuous. Cranes were used to lift and move the snow blocks in place near Ship Creek. Companies such as BP, Conoco Phillips, Fred Meyer and AT&T sponsored and provided funding for getting the snow blocks ready to go.
Temperature is also an important in snow sculpting. Warming temperatures can melt the smaller details in sculptures. With the warm temperatures Anchorage is currently having, there’s a greater chance that detail work won’t be visible in this year’s Fur Rondy snow sculptures.
“The competition is something I look forward to every year, but I am excited to see how this year’s sculptures turn out because of the warm weather,” said Adrianne Takak, who has viewed the sculptures every year ever since she moved to Anchorage when she was a child from the state of Indiana.
The snow sculpture competition draws in a range of competitors, including internationally known sculptors and everyday community members wanting to showcase a piece of fun art to the public. Radio host Loren Dixon participates in the event every year.
“It is definitely fun to create something out of pure snow alongside friends, especially with music and background fireworks going off,” Dixon said.
Participants have approximately one week to create the snow sculptures. Artists typically work on their sculptures around 6 to 10 p.m., when the temperature is best for work.
“There will be three different categories for participants to enter,” said Jeff Barney, executive director of the Fur Rondy event.
The categories include three-man team, individual and school. Winners of the Div. I category go to the U.S. nationals in Wisconsin and compete for Team Alaska.
This year marks Fur Rondy’s 80th anniversary. Fur Rondy begins Feb. 27 and ends March 8.