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In the News: U.S. Snow Sculpting Championships 2014

Who's Behind These Amazing Snow Scultpures?

By Holly Murphy, age 12

Have you ever wondered who makes those beautiful snow sculptures in Lake Geneva? Well let's go behind the scenes and find out.

Don Berg is the director of the national snow sculpting competition and makes the tough decision on which 15 competitors get to attend the national event. The competitors must have won a state championship to be considered. In determining the winner, Berg looks at 3 key factors: Creativity (50%), Mastery of concept (25%), and the message they bring across (25%). Berg, himself, won an International Snow Sculpting Championship in Russia. His days of sculpting go way back. "As a child," he said "instead of building snowmen, I built snow squirrels." Looks like he was destined to be a snow sculptor from the very beginning.

I had a chance to sit down with a few of the competitors to learn a little about their teams. AKAwesome is a team that comes to Lake Geneva from Alaska. They are creating a sculpture of a bear on its back with a lion, and tiger on top. The title of the piece, with the Lions and Tigers and Bears, is creatively called "Oh, My." They came up with their idea during their many team meetings. "The ideal temperature for sculpturing is 10-25 degrees," says the AK Awesome team. With the current forecast for the weekend in the 20's, it looks like the weather will be on their side.

Jeff Olsen and his team from Wisconsin are carving butterflies, and they call it "The Wonderer." Their biggest challenge is going to be getting the detail exactly how they want it and they are confident with the good weather, they should be able to pull it off.

The team from Idaho is led by a man named Winter. It's a perfect name for someone in this line of work. Their team is carving an eagle's nest. They came up with the idea because there are many eagles where they live and when they saw a nest recently, they knew it was the perfect idea for this competition. They are happy to be here in Lake Geneva and looking forward to a fun competition.

The last team I had the chance to talk with was The Band of Misfit Boys from Rockford, Illinois. Their sculpture is a surprised ostrich looking into a hole with a meerkat in a bath. It is called "Ralph is given the wrong address again." It's a complex design and the weather is going to be their biggest challenge. This will be their 2nd year attending the competition. One thing that makes their team stand out is the fact that one of their team members wears a fluffy brown bear suit when he sculpts. He calls himself "Man Bear". He said he wears a bear suit to keep him warm. Good thing it's not hunting season.

The U.S Snow Sculpting competition will continue through Saturday, February 1st at the Riviera in downtown Lake Geneva. Voting for the Peoples Choice award is on Saturday from 11-2. The winner of the competition will be given a $3,000 travel voucher to attend an international snow sculpting event. Viewing will continue on Sunday as well.