Lake Geneva hosting annual Winterfest Snow Sculpting Competition

Roz Varon Image
Friday, February 2, 2024
Lake Geneva hosting annual Winterfest Snow Sculpting Competition
The annual Winterfest Snow Sculpting Competition gets underway in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin this weekend.

LAKE GENEVA, Wis. (WLS) -- Roz is on the road again, this time to Lake Geneva Wisconsin for their annual Winterfest Snow Sculpting Competition!

It's the 29th year for the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship. Sixty-five thousand people are expected to attend and watch these artists create frozen masterpieces.

There's a lot more that goes into it than you might expect!

Snow sculpting is an art, and these artists have less than three days to turn this block of snow into a frozen showpiece!

"We have 15 of the best teams in the country from Maine to Alaska to Colorado to North Dakota," Stephanie Klett, Visit Lake Geneva president and CEO, said. "Two teams from Illinois and a couple from Wisconsin too and they are competing for the title of the national champion, and the winner will make their way to the world finals."

The first step is creating blank slate for competitors to carve. This year they started a day late because weather wasn't cold enough!

The 8 by 8 by 10 foot blocks of snow are built manually! These guys can get it done in one hour; they've got it down to a science!

"Every year it's a little different because we're dealing with different snow conditions," Joseph Taylor, operations manager for Winter-Fun USA, said. "But the basics of it is we have manmade snow being made over at the Grand Geneva Resort. Once we get to know the snow, we bring it in and they pile it up for us here, and then we have a front end loader that's dropping it into the forms, and then we have manpower from there where we get in there and stomp the snow, and we're kind of checking the consistency as we do that, getting a feel for the snow while we stomp."

Once the blocks are fully formed, they are carefully unwrapped and prepared to be carved.

Josh Jakubowski, captain of Team Sculptora Borealis, has won several state, national and international championships. Their theme this year is artificial intelligence

"We start early in the year, probably about May or June we start tossing ideas around between the teammates and we actually have a big spread sheet!" Jakubowski said. "Once the design is actually figured out, then I go into advanced sketching and then go into 3-D modeling, actually clay."

That clay model serves as a guide for the snow sculpture. Visitors can watch these artists at their craft, and marvel at the finished creations. Winners are announced on Saturday at 3 p.m. How long the snow sculptures last depends on Mother Nature!

There is also a People's Choice Awards - that winner will be announced on Sunday. There's also live entertainment in the Riviera Ballroom, bon-fires on the beach, and a downtown ice sculpture walk!