International teams are set to square off in a snow-carving competition at Northstar California this week.
The second annual Carve Tahoe event begins Tuesday and runs through next weekend at and around the resort’s village.
Each team will carve an original snow sculpture out of a 10-foot-by-10-foot-by-12-foot block of compacted man-made snow during the event.
“Once the snow is blown, it is transported to the carving site and blown in to 10x10x12 foot forms,” according to Carve Tahoe’s website. “The snow is then blown into the forms in 3 foot increments. Volunteers climb into the forms and ‘stomp’ the snow into as compressed a form as possible. Another three feet is blow in, and again the snow is stomped. This process goes on until the block is complete. If the snow is not tightly compressed, when a sculpture is exposed to the sun or warmth, it will list. If the block is exposed to heat then cold prior to carving, it will ‘turn bad’ and icy.”
The best days to view the sculptures are Thursday, Jan. 30; Friday, Jan. 31 and Saturday, Feb. 1, said Carve Tahoe Executive Director Kathryn Keown. She recommended people see the lighting of the sculptures Friday, Jan. 31. She described it as “photographer’s paradise” in a press release from Northstar.
Competitors’ creations are only limited by their imagination, according to the organizer.
“If they can sketch it, they can sculpt it,” Keown said. Last year’s entries included bears, human faces and plenty of abstract designs that let the mind wander.
Teams from Canada, Finland/Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, California/The Netherlands, Tahoe/Truckee and Wisconsin are scheduled to carve at the event.
The Mongolian team is among the best in the world and should be fun to watch, Keown said. She also gave high praise to the Tahoe/Truckee contingent, which won the People’s Choice Award last year after joining the event at the last minute when another team was not able to secure visas.
Teams are not awarded prize money for winning the competition. Donations accepted during the event benefit the Human Society of Tahoe-Truckee.
From 4-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24 Carve Tahoe will also host a volunteer appreciation party at Truckee’s Bar of America, which will feature carving from Team Canada, Keown said.