It takes a lot of skill and dedication to be an artist. Now imagine if your medium was snow! Each year, countries around the world hold incredible snow sculpting competitions. The participants create stunning works of art that only last for a short period of time as the snow melts. These are some of the most spectacular snow sculptures ever made. Just wait until you see the Windblown Woman.
Dreaming Snow Maiden
Check out this incredibly detailed sculpture of the Nagoya Castle. It was created in 2005 during the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan. The festival takes place every year on the northern island of Hokkaido. The area gets tons of snowfall during the winter and celebrates the beauty of the season with a huge festival. The Sapporo Snow Festival takes place in February and lasts for about one week. Millions of visitors travel there to look at the snow sculptures and ice castles and to participate in various activities. The area includes heated sidewalks and underground malls, so you can have fun both inside and out.
Owls And Birds Of Prey
This lit-up sculpture features owls and birds of prey from the Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido, Japan, in 2009. The event is one of the largest of its kind in the world. The theme of the festival varies from year to year, and usually feature an event, person, or building that made news the previous year. In addition to snow sculptures, people can enjoy musical performances and slide down long snow and ice slides. Visitors can also make their way through a maze made of snow and eat regional foods. Typically, around 400 snow sculptures are put on display.
Finnegan The Fish
Two brothers from New Brighton, Minnesota, created a huge goldfish snow sculpture in December 2016. Dubbed “Finnegan the Fish,” the snow sculpture was 22 feet tall and took the siblings over 350 hours to complete. They held a contest to decide the name of the fish, and Finnegan won out over “Madzi.” The Bartz brothers are well known in the area for building such incredible sculptures. They have been creating the snow art for the last six years. They wrote on Facebook: “Our hope is that our creative use of water will raise funds to help provide clean water to Malawi, Africa.”
Snow Star Wars
In 2015, Disney sponsored a giant snow sculpture at the Sapporo Snow Festival. The piece was used as a marketing tool to promote the upcoming Star Wars film that was being released in December. LucasFilms approved the sculpture, which featured Darth Vader with a lightsaber and three Stormtroopers. The sculpture, dubbed Snow Star Wars, was built by Japanese Army troops. The 11th Brigade of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force from Hokkaido used bulldozers and other tools to build the sculpture. It took them nearly a month to complete. The military has been part of the Sapporo Snow Festival since 1955.
Here is another amazing example from the Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Sun Island Park in China. If you look closely, you can see how the woman’s hair appears to be windblown. The sculpture also features flowers and what looks to be Saturn. The sculpture was 380 feet long and 85 feet high. The snow festival is held from January through mid-March. Sculptures are displayed in numerous locations around the city. Visitors are advised to dress warmly in big jackets, hats, and gloves. Coffee huts enable visitors to warm up while exploring the area’s incredible snow sculptures.
The next sculpture is a beautiful tribute to the children of our planet.
Children & Earth
This snow sculpture is titled “The Earth and the Future of Our Children.” It was featured at the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan in 2008. The event first took place in 1950 and lasted only one day. It involved six high school students who created six sculptures in the snow. The festival stayed small until 1955 when the Japan Self-Defense Forces decided to get in on the action and built an enormous snow sculpture, turning the festival into what it is today. Now more than 2 million people from around the world visit Sapporo to see the incredible snow sculptures each year.
This snow sculpture, called “Dragon’s Castle,” appeared at the 2004 Asahikawa Winter Festival in Japan. It is one of the world’s largest snow sculptures ever built. It was so strong, people were allowed to walk on it. The Asahikawa Winter Festival is the second largest winter festival in Hokkaido after the Sapporo Snow Festival. The two festivals occur around the same time in February. Visitors can go to both because they are located within an 80-minute train ride from one another. Each year, one of the sculptures at Asahikawa is made into a stage for music and other performances.
Here is another example from the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in China. Notice how the woman looks very feminine and has such realistic details, including the hair and crown on her head. The overall effect is quite compelling. This snow sculpture was built in 2014.This festival has been taking place for about 33 years. Visitors wander around 750,000 square miles of area to take a look at the incredible sculptures that feature buildings, traditional characters, and other themes. The artists get very creative with their subjects and create everything from surreal environments to snow fairies and igloos.
Octavius The Octopus
Here’s another sculpture from the “famous” Bartz brothers (Austin, Trevor, and Connor.) Fans on Facebook voted and named this one Octavius in January 2016. The 18-foot-tall and 35-foot-wide octopus took a couple of weeks and long, 12-hour days to make. They put a donation box in front of their house to raise money for Haiti. Trevor told TwinCities.com: “I’d say we’ve had about 4,000 to 5,000 people here so far. There’s usually about 10 to 20 people in our front yard all night.” His brother Austin added: “It’s cool that so many people can come out and enjoy it.”
Once again, here’s an example from Harbin, Heilongjiang, China. Sculptors don’t just rely on snow as their medium. Many artists also create incredible pieces made out of ice. In 2015, they built the Crystal Castle, which was 48 meters high. The sculpture was nearly as big as Paris’ Arc de Triomphe. The festival also included the following made out of ice: the Kremlin, a seated Buddha, and Chinese fisherman that glowed magenta and green at night. The artists use ice blocks obtained from the Songhua River, but they also like to use deionized water to make the sculptures as clear as possible.
Wait until you see the snow cabin that visitors can actually go inside of!
This sculpture was featured at the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships. The event takes place every January in Breckenridge, Colorado. Dozens of artists, who are considered to be some of the best in the world, attend the festival to create these enormous projects. They have just 65 hours to complete the sculptures and often work both day and night to create pieces that are 12 feet tall and contain 25 tons of snow. Visitors are allowed to vote on the winner of the People’s Choice Award. The event has been taking place for 27 years. Parking and admission are free.
This sculpture of an Inuit family was featured in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, during the 2010 US Nationals Snow Sculpting Competition. It is the biggest snow sculpting competition in the United States. The city has been sponsoring this type of event for nearly 30 years. More than a dozen artists are featured in the competition. They have never canceled an event due to weather. As long as the temperature remains below freezing, the artists can create their magnificent sculptures. Teams are given a block of snow 8 feet in diameter and 9 feet high to build on the grounds of Historic Riviera in Lake Geneva.
Check out this snow sculpture getting the final touches added to it during the 2014 Harbin Ice and Snow World in Harbin, China. There is a fee for those wishing to see the snow sculptures. Spectators wishing to see the giant sculptures can also entertain themselves in various other ways during the festival. Since the Songhua River freezes solid during the winter, visitors can cross its surface via bicycle, ice skates, miniature tanks, ponies, and other modes of transportation. Sculptures are also featured in other parts of the city where no fee is required, including the riverside and along the Zhongyang Dajie.
Monster With Giant Hand
This unusual and amazing snow sculpture was featured at the Quebec Ice Winter Carnival in Canada. The festival takes place every year from late January to mid-February. The first carnival took place in 1894. The goal was to cheer people up during such a cold time of year. The festival occurred sporadically over the years until it was made an official event in 1954 by a group of businessmen, who believed it could boost the economy. Soon, the Quebec Winter Carnival became a staple to the region, and locals made sure to attend each year. It also became a huge draw for tourists.
Snow Sculptures At Night
Here is another example from the Breckinridge Snow Festival in Colorado. Visitors have just one week to gaze at the incredible snow sculptures that are put on display at the end of January. People can peruse the incredible pieces at the Riverwalk Center. Those who want to learn more can visit the headquarters and get information about the process of snow sculpting as well as details about the teams and other trivia. The exhibit covers the last 25 years of the International Snow Sculpture Championships. One of the highlights is the amazing Ice Village, which turns sculptures into glowing statues.
This incredible snow sculpture was featured at the Harbin Snow and Ice Festival in China in 2010. Look at how beautiful the faces are. Harbin was a relatively quiet town until the late 19th century when the Chinese Eastern Railway made its way into the city. The Russians helped build the railway but lost it to the Japanese during the Russo-Japanese war from 1904-05. As a result of the presence of Russians, much of Harbin has been influenced by its neighboring country. Both food and architecture in the city have a bit of Russian flare. Interestingly, there’s a five-hour time difference between Harbin and Moscow.
Get ready to hop on board the snow train.
It’s unclear where this snow train was carved and displayed. But wouldn’t it be neat to take a ride on a snow train? If you’re interested in building your own snow sculpture, you will need the following tools: large wooden planks to smooth out the snow, shovels, a cooler, and really good snow that is wet enough to be compressed. After you have the necessities, compress snow in the cooler to make snow blocks. Stack the blocks in a perfect square, and then start carving! The process sounds easy enough, but if it truly was so simple then everyone would have fantastic sculptures in their yards.
This size of this snow sculpture is made evident by the artist working alongside her. The Asahikawa Winter Festival has two sites where visitors can look at the incredible snow art. They can also take a ride down a snow slide, take a snowmobile ride or horse-drawn sleigh ride or even stop for a drink at an ice bar. The festival also starts and ends with opening and closing ceremonies that often feature fireworks. During the first few days of the festival, visitors can watch the sculptors at work. Later on they can view the completed pieces.
Snow Sculptures At Night
At night, the snow and ice sculptures at the Asahikawa Winter Festival and other snow festivals look particularly stunning. Various colored lights make the snow look luminous and magical. The Sapporo Snow Festival, meanwhile, doesn’t always have enough snow to support the event. By the time they hold the festival in February, there occasionally isn’t enough precipitation to create the massive sculptures. As a result, the Self-Defense Force trucks in snow from neighboring areas outside Sapporo to aid the artists in their creations. One of the sites is specifically made to entertain children. Also, the Susukino Queen of Ice is crowned at one of the festival’s sites.