When you think about snow, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is snow that horrible cold stuff that gets into your boots and down the back of your neck? That nasty white roadblock that falls out of the sky the second you've finished shovelling up after the last snowfall? Many people feel that way after a long winter, but fortunately snow has a few sides to it that nearly everyone loves. We love the exhilaration of sledding or skiing down a hill, or watching beautiful lacy flakes drift from the sky. Another fun winter activity involving snow is to visit a snow sculpture competition and see the breathtaking artwork that can be made from snow.
Snow sculptures can be seen outdoors at winter festivals and events. They can range from very small to toweringly huge. They can be intricate and delicate, or solid enough for children to climb on. They are usually pure white, but some sculptors use dye, paint or decorative extras to add colour to their work. The displays at a snow sculpture festival will cover a wide variety of subject matter, from fanciful animals and people to beautiful cultural artwork. Snow art is made to be appreciated night and day, with the snow sparkling in the sunlight or lit up by a coloured light show at night.
One thing that attracts guests to a snow sculpture show is that they will quite often be able to see the snow artists working on the sculptures. Part of the attraction is the opportunity to watch a six-ton block of packed snow transform into a bear or a dancer or a totem pole, whatever the sculptor fancies! Snow sculptors use many different kinds of tools to do their work. They often start with hatchets and chainsaws to get the beginnings of a basic shape, and then work down toward knives, ice picks and even custom-made ice sculpting tools to add the fine details to the finished piece. Each artist has his or her own style, and watching an artist at work is a unique experience.
Snow sculpture shows have become a popular wintertime event in many parts of the world, especially in places where it gets cold enough to hold the show outdoors. Snow shows are often part of large winter festivals that include other attractions like dancers, figure skaters, sporting events and, of course, lots of hot cocoa! Some festivals will take the snow and ice art to an extreme and build who castles out of ice or snow, complete with lights, furnishings and guided tours. Even places whose winter isn't cold enough to make ice have been known to get in on the act, freezing whole arenas to make them snow sculpture friendly!
Next time Old Man Winter seems to be overstaying his welcome and you're getting tired of shovelling snow and navigating frozen roads, see if there is a snow show or winter festival in your area. Watching all that snow become beautiful snow sculpture art is guaranteed to remind of why sometimes, just sometimes, you really love winter.
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