Friday, January 27, 2006

Snow Sculpting Championships Have Long History in Breckenridge

Long before it was an international competition, Breckenridge residents used piles snow and water to make their works of art. It began as an event at Ullr Fest with sculptures lining Main Street.

Local businesses created all sorts of sculptures up and down Main Street during the annual winter festival.

Team Breck captain Rob Neyland, who first entered the contest in 1979 with the staff at his real estate office, described the sculptures then as "spontaneous grassroots street art."

Neyland, Ron Shelton, Randy Amys and Bill Hazell won that year and Team Breck continued winning the local event. Soon enough they were exposed to the greater aspect of the sport - national and international competitions.

"When we found out people did this elsewhere, we knew that we had to make this happen for Breckenridge," Neyland said. "Breckenridge is a great big world of snow and it's the perfect blend of art and sport."

Neyland petitioned for state certification and in 1986 participated in (and won) the Colorado State Snow Sculpture Championships hosted by Breckenridge.

In 1991, with the help of the ski resort's specially made snow, the town hosted their first International Snow Sculpture Championships.

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