2012 International Snow Sculpture Competition, which is held in Breckenridge, Colorado, each year, came to a close this morning.
Fifteen teams of five sculptors each spent much of the last week carving massive blocks of snow into larger-than-life creations in an effort to gain some recognition for a highly-specialized skill.
All power tools and colorants are banned from the competition making the artists to be creative with their selections, with some using carrot scrapers and chicken wire along with traditional saws and ice picks.
This year, there were teams from Canada, Spain, China, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Switzerland and the United States- Alaska, Colorado, Idaho and Wisconsin.
The most surprising entrants- Mexico, Greece, and Australia- were all from warm countries, giving their representatives less opportunity to practice their skills at home.
That has not hurt them in the past, however, as the Mexican team was 2011 winner.
The annual International Snow Sculpture Competition is held each year in Breckenridge, Colorado, and has been for the past 21 years.
The event’s organizers arrange for snow to be collected by dump trucks and compacted using wooden frames and snow blowing machines.
The snow is packed in by the strong feet of five to ten volunteers who jump on top of the snow to compress it before more snow is then added.
The finished product is a 20-ton block of snow that is 10 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 12 feet high.
When the competition begins, the teams have 65 hours spread over the course of five days to turn their blocks into masterpieces.
While they all undoubtedly are going for gold, participating is still a feat in itself. Organizers invited 250 teams initially, who then have to submit prospective plans.
The organizers then widdle the group down to the best 15 options that they feel will turn downtown Breckenridge into a spectacle.
The winners will be announced Sunday afternoon and the sculptures will remain standing for at least the next week so that residents can tour around the icy works.