Snow Sculpting Extravaganza

Photo by nickolya/Fotolia

by | Jan 17, 2018

Do you want to build a snowman?

The question, made famous by the Disney movie “Frozen,” is a very real possibility in the state of Minnesota. Building snowmen, an activity dating back to medieval times, costs very little—after all, you really only need one ingredient: snow. We get a lot of snow here in Minnesota, totaling about 36 inches—that’s 3 feet—in the southwest to a mind-boggling 70 inches—the average height of a man—up along the Lake Superior “snow belt.” With this much snowman-making material, the activity has grown well beyond the simple stacking of giant snowballs with a carrot for the nose. The result? A full-fledged snow sculpting competition.

You can witness the Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Competition right here in the Twin Cities. A proud tradition since 1987, the competition is coming up Jan. 26-Jan. 28 at the Vulcan Snow Park, located on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds as part of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. At this three-day competition, three-member teams from all over the state have the opportunity to turn gigantic blocks of compacted snow—8’x8’x8’ to be exact—into works of art. They use only hand tools: shovels, hatchets, saws and other similar supplies. Spectators are welcome to watch the creation of these intricate snow masterpieces for free throughout the competition as well as attend the award ceremony on the final day. The winning team receives a trophy and $1,000, along with the honor of representing Minnesota at the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition in Wisconsin.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the competition. All of the sculptures remain on display through the end of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, Feb. 11, and at night, the sculptures are lit up after dark to make sure you can see every detail. You can admire other sculptures on display, too, such as exhibition sculptures done by professional artists, Amateur Snow Sculpting Contest entries (which are created all in one day on Feb. 3) and sculptures constructed by students from the Metro Deaf School.

While you’re wandering among the snow sculptures at Vulcan Snow Park, make sure to check out the tons of other creative activities. There’s a giant snow slide—measuring 16 feet high and over 300 feet long—available for $2 per ride (sled provided), as well as a children’s snow treasure hunt (Jan. 28), Barstool Ski Races (Feb. 9 and 11), Lawn Mower Races on ice (Feb. 10 and 11) and much more. Visit for the full schedule of events at Vulcan Snow Park and further details on the snow sculpting competition.

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