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gave us the concrete forms, the crane people gave us the cranes, the lodging people and restaurants all weighed in,” Neyland said.

The International Snow Sculpture Championships have become imprinted on the identity of Breckenridge, which was precisely the goal from the very beginning.

“You can’t see any story or brochure or electronic imagery about Breckenridge in any venue in the world that does not include some sort of image of the snow sculpture that happens in Breckenridge every year. It’s become indelibly associated with Breckenridge, and I think that’s just splendid,” Neyland said.

TOM DAY, THE ARTIST In 1996, five years after the championship began, co-founders Rob Neyland and Ron Shelton asked

Breckenridge local Tom Day to join Team Breck based on his artistic background. Day agreed and that year the three of them created “Cold Fusion,” a sculpture of a man and a woman rising out of a coil, leaning in for a kiss.

That sculpture kicked off Day’s love affair with the art form, and from that date on, he competed in every Breckenridge championship except one.

“I love it,” Day said. He estimates that he’s created around 23 snow sculptures during his 18-year-career. He loves the fact that competition doesn’t get in the way of making friends and having a good time.

“That’s the best thing about this competition, is we don’t offer big money for first, second and third place,” he said. “You do that, people don’t talk to each other.”

Tool sharing is commonplace at the Breckenridge championships. Competition rules prohibit power tools; everything must be done by hand. There really aren’t any official tools for snow sculpting, so sculptors need to get creative. Day has modified everything from floor scrapers to cheese graters to create just the right effect. Working alongside other teams is a great way to pass on or pick up tips on techniques. In fact, the atmosphere of the event is his favorite part of the sculpting process.

“The camaraderie of everybody out there working to achieve what they have set forth, and just hanging out with the people and sharing the tools,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter if I win or not or place whatever. I just enjoy the whole process of the competition. It’s really fun.”


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