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Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships

Snow Sculpture Championships Overview
For many years this wintertime event remained on a small and local scale, bringing everyone from merchants to schoolchildren into the fold of snow sculpting. However, in the late 1980's, the event broadened to a statewide competition. And in 1991 Breckenridge hosted the first International Snow Sculpture Championships. Since its inception, the event has fostered a spirit of worldwide artistic camaraderie, bringing together cultures as diverse as Russia, China, Japan, Morocco, Belize, Finland, France, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico, Great Britain, Spain, Bulgaria and Canada, just to name a few. Language barriers are broken down; political differences are set aside; and the result: art, pure and simple. Team Breckenridge and Team Ontario Sculptures in Black and White.  Photo by Doug Bisson

Each 4-person team carves unique sculptures, often times depicting cultural influences, proud heritages and aspirations of those whose skills are involved. Only hand tools are allowed in the competition; no power tools or colorants may be used.

At the end of the five-day period (65 hours total), a panel of artist judges will find a favorite on the basis of theme, style and technique. People's Choice($1 a vote that goes right back to the event) and Kids' Choice voting will be available until Sunday at 5 p.m. so you can choose your own favorite.

The Events Business News has named the International Snow Sculpture Championships to the top 200 events Internationally. A list of some of the major media inclusion in past years includes: Fuji TV (Japan), CNN, British Broadcasting Company, CBS This Morning, Today Show - Willard Scott, National Geographic Magazine, Sunset Magazine, Dallas Morning News, USA Today, New York Times, MSNBC, Travelocity and the Travel Channel.

The Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships is featured in a full length documentary.  Please click here to view the trailer. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Snow Sculpting

Where are the sculptures located?

The Snow Sculptures are located in the area around the Riverwalk Center at 150 West Adams Avenue, Breckenridge, CO 80424.   The competition sculptures are in the Riverwalk Center (Tiger Dredge) parking lot and the sponsor/exhibition sculptures are spread onto the "lawn" just north of the Riverwalk Center and across the river in the Blue River Plaza adjacent to Main Street.  Event Headquarters are in the Riverwalk Center.  Click here for a map

Who will be sculpting this year (2014)?

There will be 16 teams from the following countries: Catalunya (Spain), Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Mongolia (2 teams), Russia and USA.  2014 will be one of our most international fields with only 3 teams coming from within the United States- two from Colorado and one from Vermont.  

 Can the public attend the whole event? 

Yes, we would love you to join us anytime from January 21 to February 2, 2014 (and even earlier if you want to volunteer- email Heather Bridges if you want to volunteer).  Artists actually sculpt from Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. until Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.- the only night they are allowed to sculpt all night is Friday, January 24 into Saturday, January 25, 2014.  Judging is at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 25, 2014 and the awards ceremony is at 4:00p.m. on Saturday, January 25, 2014 during which we will award the Judges' top 3 choices.  Kids' Choice and People's Choice will be awarded on Sunday evening after voting is completed. The sculptures will remain standing weather permitting until the night of Sunday, February 2, 2014.  

We think the evening of Friday, January 24, 2014 is one of the best times to visit.  Artists are preparing to stay up all night to do detail work and the atmosphere is celebratory.   Why not spend a night or two in one of our great hotels or cozy condos and catch the whole weekend?  You won't regret seeing the sculptures evolve and witnessing the awards being given out. 

Where may visitors park?

There will be no parking available in the Tiger Dredge Lot where the sculptures are located. Please click here for a parking map

On January 25-26, 2014 and February 1-2, 2014, parking will be allowed on the EAST side of Park Avenue only adjacent to the Riverwalk (Tiger Dredge) parking lot.  Please obey posted signage indicating whether parking is allowed.  Please do not utilize the F-Lot Transit Center off of Park Avenue as a turn around or drop off area for cars.  The transit center is for Summit stage, Town of Breckenridge and Breckenridge Ski Resort buses only.  Click here for a map

Also, on January 25-26, 2014 a special Snow Sculpture shuttle will run between the event site (F-Lot transit center) and the satellite/free skier parking off of Airport Road.  The shuttle will run from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and there will be signage directing visitors to the satellite/free skier parking off of Airport Road as well as the special shuttle stop. 

Free public transportation is also available throughout the town from 6:15 a.m. to 11:45 p.m., provided by the Breckenridge Free Ride. Maps are available at The Welcome Center on Main Street, Breckenridge Station and on each bus.  Or click here to find out more about the Breckenridge Free Ride.  The closest bus stop to Event Headquarters is the F-Lot, which is serviced by most bus routes.

Where should private charter buses park and drop off/pick up?

Private charter buses may utilize the F-Lot Transit Center near the Riverwalk (Tiger Dredge) Lot to drop off  and pick up guests.  Click here for a map.  Buses may not park on Park Avenue or in the Tiger Dredge Lot.  Buses will be directed to park in the satellite/free skier parking off of Airport Road and return to the event site to pick up guests.  For more information about parking please click here.    

What is viewing week? 

We call January 26 - February 2, 2014 viewing week because the sculptures are there for viewing (weather permitting), but the artists are not working on the sculptures during that time- the sculptures will be completed on January 25, 2014 at 10:00 a.m (of course you are welcome to visit while the sculpting is happening starting on January 21, 2014).  We say that viewing week is weather permitting because every once in a while we need to take down a sculpture that is about to fall due to warm weather.  Over the past few years we have only taken down one or two sculptures due to weather so it is a pretty good bet that you will be able to see most or all of the sculptures (and without the crowds!).   We do take down all of the sculptures on the night of Sunday, February 2, 2014 at around 11pm. 

Where does the snow come from?

The Breckenridge Ski Resort makes the snow and the Town of Breckenridge Public Works Department loads it into dump trucks and trucks it down to the event site. The snow is blown into the blocks by a huge snow blower. Because the snow is man made, it is the same consistency throughout the block.

Uncarved Blocks Early MorningHow heavy are the snow sculptures?

Approximately 20 tons.

What are their dimensions?

10 ft wide, 10 ft long and 12 ft high.

How are the blocks of snow formed?

Front-end loaders take the snow from the dump trucks and load up the square wooden frames. The snow is blown into the blocks by a huge snow blower. After a couple loads, about 5-10 people climb into the blocks and stomp the snow to pack it into the blocks. The people then climb out of the block and another load gets dumped in and the people get back into the block and stomp the snow. These people are called "snow stompers" and are definitely super star volunteers.

What type of tools can the artist use?

They can only use hand tools and cannot use power tools, colorants or internal support structures. Tools that are used include carrot scrapers, chicken wire, saws and more.
Photo of Team Vermont's 2008 Sculpture
Is the event free?

There are no charge for viewing the sculptures.

How long do the sculptures remain on display?

Depending on the weather, the sculptures are scheduled to remain for at least one week following the event.


How much time do the artists have to complete their sculptures?

A total of 65 hours.

How are the teams chosen?

The Snow Sculpture Organizing Committee sends out 250 invitations in July and receive submissions in September from artists who send back their designs. Then the Organizing Selection Committee decides who will attend the event based on designs and team resumes. The teams provide their own transportation to Denver and are supported by a travel stipend supplied by the Town of Breckenridge.  The Organizing Committee with the help of many local sponsors take care of all meals and lodging for artists. 

What do the teams win?

Glory!  The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners each receive a medallion and a ribbon. Ribbons are also awarded to the People's Choice, Kids' Choice and Artists' Choice winners. There are no cash prizes- just a lot of love and admiration and of course glory. 

For more information or to volunteer, email Heather Pease at or at 970-547-3100.

For 2014 event dates please click here

For sponsorship opportunities, email Sandy Metzger at or call 970-453-5074.

To see more images from the Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships please click here or visit

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Last updated: 1/28/2015 2:04:15 PM