Frozen, Fleeting Art Takes Shape For Frostival Snow Sculpture Competition

Viking Ship park outside the Hjemkomst Center is transforming into a gallery full or art that won't be around very long

MOORHEAD, Minn. (KVRR) – Viking Ship park outside the Hjemkomst Center is transforming into a gallery full or art that won’t be around very long.

You’ll be able to see a bunch of finished snow sculptures this Saturday at the Frostival Snow Sculpture Competition.

But it takes a lot longer than a day to turn a cube of snow into a work of art.

Jay Ray is hard at work on this year’s sculpture. He’s been competing at Frostival for about seven years.

He says, “I’ve been addicted ever since.”

It’s turned into more than a hobby for him.

Ray explains, “End of December through February is snow and ice season.”

He’s part of the North Dakota team heading to the U.S. Snow Sculpting Competition in Wisconsin.

Ray says, “Being able to do a sculpture this large is something that really intrigues me.”

These sculptures can be 10 feet tall or more. Sculptor Dave Swenson does something called snow welding to make his sculpture tower over other.

Swenson explains part of the process. He says, “Kind of wiggle it back and forth, wiggle it until it sticks, and then you know it’s gonna be good.”

I came out here expecting to see a bunch of chainsaws. After all, they have to turn these giant 10-foot cubes into works of art. But no, these sculptors spend hour after hour crafting these masterpieces using nothing but hand powered tools.

Swenson guesses, “Eh, probably 40 hours, a week time.”

It’s not easy for them.

Ray adds, “The hard part is getting big chunks of snow off first. That’s just grueling work for one old guy.”

But they have passion.

Swenson says, “You kind of get lost in the moment doing it, and then you step away then when you’re finally finished and you look at it it’s kind of like the angels singing and the sun coming through the clouds. It’s just fun.”

And for these artists, it doesn’t matter that their art will last only as long as Mother Nature allows, as long as they get to make in the first place.

Ray says, “It’s more for the fun of it.”

The Snow Sculpture Competition voting starts at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, January 28th, with winners announced at 2:30 p.m.

You can enjoy the sculptures until… they melt.


Categories: Local News, Minnesota News, Morning – In The Community