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Breckenridge's Signature Event Comes Alive for the 20th Year January 26, 2010

Posted by Breckenridge Associates Real Estate on Thursday, January 21st, 2010 at 9:46am.

Celebrate 20 years of snow art in Breckenridge, January 26-February 7, 2010, as artists from around the world join together to carve and create masterpieces from 20-ton blocks of snow. Artists are allowed just 65 hours to transform each enormous blank canvas of snow into dimensional works of their own art – you won’t believe the masterpieces created from blocks of snow. This is a signature Breckenridge event – and not to miss!

In this commemorative celebration of the 20th year of the official international snow sculpting event in Breckenridge, Colorado, we’d like to pay tribute to the overall history of snow sculpting in our local mining town with a story told from one of the event founders and Breckenridge Associates Real Estate Broker/Partner, Rob Neyland, about how he and Team Breckenridge (made up of Neyland along with Ron Shelton & Tom Day – also Broker/Partners of our real estate office) started what is today a world-class event in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Creating A Snow Sculpting Event in Breckenridge, Colorado – as told by Roy Neyland:

My parents brought us to Breckenridge when I was a kid. My dad was determined that his family was going to know the world of snow skiing. As a teenager, I was smitten with this old-fashioned town with its own ski resort. The mountains were so beautiful, there was always stuff to do, and dude, it seemed like everyone was always on vacation! Count me in.

The skiing, and boarding brought all of us together here in the first place, but it is all of the other events and activities that keep us here in Breckenridge, and bring families back to visit. This colorful Colorado ski town is united by its passions, and celebrating these passions is where locals and visitors alike find a unique opportunity to really get involved. The zany, irreverent and home grown parades of Ullr Fest (Winter Carnival) and 4th of July are a perfect examples.

Ullr Parade floats are what got us started with snow sculpting here in Breckenridge some 30 years ago. Geez, that sounds old...make it 29 years ago--we flipped a coin. Heads we entered a float in the Ullr Parade, and tails we entered the snow sculpting contest, and built one in front of our real estate company. Tails it was, so we raided the kitchen and garage for tools, piled up a bunch of snow and set about making us a sculpture. We won! We won money! We were hooked. We planned and plotted next year's project (with secret designs of course), and came back and won. And the year after that I began to see pictures of snow sculptures in travel and skiing magazines, highlighting one of the unusual, engaging, non-skier aspects unique to Breckenridge. I wanted our little town to be known for this – the perfect blend of sport and artistic spirit, using Colorado's most precious natural resource, snow. One fateful January day in 1985 while we were working on our Ullr Fest sculpture, a guy came along and said, "Hey you guys are pretty good, have you ever thought about going to the Nationals?" There's Nationals? we gasped. "You bet. And Internationals, all over the world..." Our minds were blown. We knew then and there we had to land such an amazing event for Breckenridge.

And so began a four-year journey for Carvin' Marvin and the Snowflakes. To the U.S. Nationals and a host of international competitions – kicking a little butt, taking some names, building a roster and legitimacy for Breckenridge as a worthy place for these international sculptors to compete.

Hey…all we needed was just a few things: the ski area to make the perfect snow for us, the town's trucks and loaders and manpower to make all the uniform 20-ton snowblocks, free meals and condominiums for 80 people for a week in the middle of the ski season. Oh and by the way…could we have some ski passes and ski equipment for everyone? And one more thing…we needed an entire parking lot somewhere right in the middle of town that we can shut down for almost the whole month of January? It all sounded preposterous…But it would be glorious!

Where else could you pull off something like this? We set out to make it happen. We hounded any organization that would listen to us – the ski resort, Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Realtors, restaurants, hotels and lodging companies, ski shops, and of course the Town of Breckenridge. And wonderfully, magnificently in fact, everyone believed in the vision, and pitched in what they could. It was a smashing success, and now 20 years later, this annual transformation of a parking lot into a snow sculpture park has become one of the signature events on Colorado's winter calendar.


The Breckenridge International Snow Sculpure Championships draws artist from around the globe, and tens of thousands of spectators annually. For many, this gleaming display is a part of their first exposure to Breckenridge and Colorado. I can see it in their eyes, when we are out working on our sculptures. Their parents are bringing them to Breckenridge when they are kids, and they are never going to forget it. Yes, the sculptures melt and go away in a short time. But in that fragile, fleeting moment, hearts are touched for a lifetime.

And there you have it. Come and see the passion and beauty of this event in action January 26-February 7, 2010. Located in the large parking lot behind the Riverwalk Performing Arts Center. Check out the artists creating their works of snow art beginning Tuesday, January 26 and throughout that week. Judging takes place Saturday, January 30 and the sculptures will be on display through the following Sunday, February 7.

Make sure to stop by and check out Team Breck, made up of Rob Neyland, Ron Shelton and Tom Day as they join together to create this year’s sculpture titled, String Theory. To get a special sneak preview of our rendering for this year's sculpting contest, click here to view on our website . (Scroll to bottom of article to view "String Theory" rendering.)

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