CARVE International Snow Sculpture Contest

The CARVE snow sculpture contest that was held last week at Northstar was incredible. Teams from around the world showed up and made magic. They all came to Tahoe with very different perspectives, different visions, different objectives and systematically, day by day, chipped away at their 10x10x12 foot high blocks of snow. Each team of three had submitted a sketch months before to be accepted into the contest, I had seen them and quite frankly in some cases, I was having a hard time imaging them pulling off their ambitious plans.

They spoke different languages, used different tools and clearly were following different strategies. Some of the teams were made up of veteran carvers who had travelled the world competing for years, others had less experience. All of them faced a new obstacle, one foreign to the rest of the stages they were used to…The California sun. The Tahoe heat, wrecked havoc on plans. On day two I showed up to see tarps thrown up everywhere… luckily it still dipped into the 20’s at night and the blocks froze hard.

As I watched the forms emerge out of the blocks I couldn’t help but be inspired. As a judge, I tried to wrap my head around the wide range of forms and message, looking for common variable to measure by. It was amazing to see the evolution.

At night changing LED lighting set the works a blaze in color and form. The darkness framed each incredible flowing piece of art as they called out and danced together for the stars.

In the end, one sculpture rose to the top. It was a minimalistic, precariously balanced statement. Clearly it was “a all or nothing” attempt. The Germans pulled it off with practiced strategy and precision.

Unquestionably, CARVE was a huge success.

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