Rendezvous snow carving competition kicks off

Ready, set, sculpt! Yukon's 12th annual International Snow Carving Competition is underway in Shipyards Park as part of the Rendezvous festival. Artists from around the world gather in Whitehorse for this event.

Ready, set, sculpt! Yukon’s 12th annual International Snow Carving Competition is underway in Shipyards Park as part of the Rendezvous festival.

Artists from around the world gather in Whitehorse for this event.

It’s always a crowd favourite, as carvers find sculptures of all sorts hidden within the blocks of snow they are dealt at the beginning of the competition.

The participants have fun, too, said Evi Watt, who helps organize the event with her husband Don.

“This competition has really grown to be a popular one among the carvers,” she said.

“They love to come up here. Some of them have come back time and again. He keeps getting emails saying, ‘Can we come to your festival?’”

One of the special things about the Yukon event is that, unlike other competitions, there are no rules about what carvers can or can’t do with the snow.

“In a lot of the competitions they have rules about how high you can go, how much you can go out from the blocks, and whether you can put additions or colour in – you can’t, normally,” said Watt.

“But here, the artists are having a good time because they can do whatever they want.”

That meant that can get really creative.

“We’ve had some great things come from that. The Japanese team last year put in all kinds of colour, and they did this happiness piece,” she said.

“There was a Quebec carver one year who did a movie projector with loops of film, and behind it she put a real movie projector and she had a snow screen and she was projecting National Film Board films onto this snow screen.”

Watt’s job during the event will be to manage the hospitality room for the carvers.

“I keep them fed and coffeed up and everything.”

She knows a lot of carvers from past competitions, and from travelling to events around the world with her husband as part of Team Yukon, she said.

“It’s kind of like having a big family come back together again,” said Watt.

“To see all those people again, and see how they work together, and they all help each other out, they share tools and even though they’re competing they’ll help each other with questions. It’s just a really nice community.”’

A month ago, the event was nearly in jeopardy because of the lack of snow.

But thanks to the late-season dumps, City of Whitehorse crews and volunteers were able to collect the necessary white stuff and pack it into box forms in time for the competition.

Getting the snow ready is an event in itself, said Marc Boulerice, parks supervisor with the city.

The volunteers all really enjoy it, he said.

“They have fun doing it, getting a bit of exercise late at night doing the snow packing. It’s a good atmosphere there. There’s music and a fire pit. It’s pretty neat.”

Boulerice enjoys watching the sculptures develop and take shape over the course of the event, he said.

And he’s not alone.

“It’s great to see that so many people in town appreciate them and consider it such a big part of Rendezvous.”

This year will feature teams from Sweden, Finland, Estonia, China, Japan, Manitoba, Alaska and Yukon, as well as one team with members from Ontario, Michigan and Mexico.

“They’re calling themselves NAFTA,” said Watt.

The snow carving competition continues through this week, with judging on Saturday.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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