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ISSC HISTORY - HOW IT ALL BEGAN


THE START OF SNOW SCULPTING IN BRECKENRIDGE In a town that averages over 300 inches of fresh powder each year, it’s only natural that Breckenridge locals would discover more than one use for the white stuff. An evolutionary blend of hometown good humor and keen artistic aspirations transformed a locals’ festival into one of the world’s premier snow events, the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships.


and goals elevated. Team Breck competed in the Colorado State Snow Sculpture Championships – hosted here in town by Team Breck – and then set their sights on an international event.


In its earliest days, snow sculpting was part of Ullr Fest, the town’s annual celebration of winter and bountiful snow. Businesses, individuals, civic organizations, and even school children would create artistic (and sometimes outlandish) snow art. To the winner of the Ullr sculpting contest would go the spoils – mention in the local paper and a prize donated by fellow competitors.


In 1979, the staff at Moore and Co. Real Estate pondered which Ullr event to enter. Would they design a float for the parade or craft a sculpture from snow? A coin toss said snow, and the staff formed what became Team Breck, the town’s competitive snow sculpting team. As years passed, sculptures progressed


The dream became reality in 1991 when Team Breck’s Rob Neyland, Ron Shelton, Randy Amys, and Bill Hazell, along with the Town of Breckenridge and Breckenridge Ski Resort, played host to teams from around the country and the globe for the inaugural International Snow Sculpture Championships.


“Snow is a living medium. It starts as water from the sky, and we just grasp it briefly and then it’s water again. It’s a lot like life in that respect.” – Rob Neyland


Successive competitions bring new languages and new friends to our historic mining town, which has welcomed artists from countries such as Morocco, Switzerland, Russia, China, Argentina, and Canada.


Worldwide acclaim inspired an effort to mentor a whole new generation of snow artists. In December 2008, the


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founders of Breckenridge’s international competition returned snow sculpting to the streets with the Breckenridge Snowflake Challenge. The grassroots event encouraged community members to continue the legacy of Team Breck. Today that legacy is clear every January when the space outside the Riverwalk Center transforms into an outdoor sculpture gallery. Be a part of Breckenridge history and watch as sculptors carve snow into stunning works of art.


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