The 32nd annual International Snow Sculpture Championships will return to Breckenridge from Jan. 23 – Feb. 1, 2023. Teams of sculptors from around the world will descend on Breckenridge to carve 12-foot-tall, 25-ton blocks of pristine man-made snow into intricate works of art.

See how they do it

Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Champioinships

Watch as sculptures create their masterpiece. Photo courtesy of Breckenridge Tourism Office.

Competing, are 12 sculpting teams from around the world and the U.S., including one from Breckenridge — led by Keith Martin of Snice Carvings who also led another team in building the Keystone Snow Fort. Watch as the teams sculpt around the clock during the carving week from Jan. 23 to Jan. 27, to create a winter wonderland of an ice sculpture garden in historic downtown Breckenridge. No power tools allowed. The artists can only use hand tools to bring their ideas to life, such as vegetable peelers, chicken wire, small saws and more.

So, how are the teams chosen? A selection committee within the Snow Sculpture Organizing Committee receives and reviews artists’ submissions and decides which team to invite. Anyone can apply, while some are sent invitations. There are four artists per team and each team gets 94 hours to sculpt during the designated carving week. 

It’s all about the snow

Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships

The snow stomp. Photo courtesy of Breckenridge Tourism Office.

Of course, much of the competition and what the artists can create is weather dependent. Breckenridge Ski Resort makes the snow that is used to create the sculptures. The blocks of snow are then formed using front-end loaders and a huge blower, then snow is transferred from the dump trucks into concrete molds. 

A group of five to 10 volunteers, “snow stompers,” climb into the block and stomp the snow to help pack it down. The process is repeated until the mold is full and packed into a sculptable block. The blocks measure 10 feet wide, 10 feet long, and 12 feet high, weighing in at 25 tons before artists take to the snow with hand tools. From the single snow block, teams start carving and chipping away to create their one-of-a-kind snow sculpture.

Choose your favorite

Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships at night

All lit up. Photo courtesy of Breckenridge Tourism Office/Alex Neuschaefer.

Visitors can view the finished sculptures during the viewing week, Jan. 27 – Feb. 1. All pieces will be illuminated nightly with an ever-changing lighting display. Spectators can show support for their favorite sculpture with the People’s Choice Vote online at GoBreck.com/vote. People’s Choice Voting will close at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28.

Due to overwhelming popularity, Friday, Jan. 27 – Sunday, Jan. 29, is historically the most popular time for sculpture viewing. To help ensure the best viewing environment for spectators, timed entry reservations will be required ONLY on Saturday, Jan. 28. Sign up for a Saturday sculpture viewing at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., or 2:00 p.m. at GoBreck.com/ISSC