BC’s Snow Queen reigns supreme

If you listened to the buzz from spectators as they circulated through the assembly of pieces at the Air Canada International Snow Sculpture Challenge for 2009 in Whitehorse, there would be little surprise which piece would

If you listened to the buzz from spectators as they circulated through the assembly of pieces at the Air Canada International Snow Sculpture Challenge for 2009 in Whitehorse, there would be little surprise which piece would win over the public and the judges.

Of the pieces presented by 10 international teams, BC’s Snow Queen warmed people’s hearts while freezing their gaze, taking first in the public’s choice and judges’ choice categories.

Unlike most international competitions, teams were given a little leeway in the materials used, such as ice, and in the sharing of materials.

“We incorporated a lot of ice elements, considering the fact there were no rules,” said Team BC member Delayne Corbett. “We broke all the rules that are in competition: one, by using other people’s snow – we did steal a little bit; two, by using water and ice.

“Adding the ice elements is what I think tipped the scales for us É I think it made it a more magical piece.”

Team BC used ice for the Queen’s jewelry and tiara, but what was more eye-catching was the ice minarets that sat atop the turrets of the small castle next to the Queen.

“You take a balloon filled with water and you hang it for six hours until it gets a shell, then you poke it to let the water out,” said Team BC member David Dureault. “Then you have a globe É It’s a cool little trick.”

“We started this on the first day, we pulled them out and suddenly ice appeared everywhere,” said Corbett.

Team Finland’s piece, Temptation, and Team Alaska’s sculpture The Trapper’s Dream (or The Beaver’s Dream) also garnered a fair share of attention. Finland finished second behind BC for the public-choice award while Alaska took third.

The judges’ picks were not far from the public’s, with Alaska taking second and Finland third. Finland also took the artists’ choice.

Surprisingly, Corbett carved a smaller version of the Snow Queen last week in PEI, but did not place at the event.

“It was a two-man competition, but I was by myself,” said Corbett.

“Basically we took my idea and expanded on it and created something huge with three people – and that’s what came out.

“(Last week’s) was not nearly as intricate and crazy as this one.”

For the win, Corbett, Dureault and team captain Peter Vogelaar, each received a vial filled with a half ounce of Dawson City gold provided by Skookum Asphalt.

“We’re really happy that we got this event together and we’re hoping to run it again next year,” said Donald C. Watt, an event organizer.

The Challenge also featured three pieces in the middle carved by students from Whitehorse’s Sun Dog Carving School, each mentored by Watt and other members of Team Yukon, who co-organized the event and did not compete.

“They are trained artisans and usually they do small tabletop stuff or wall stuff – stuff they can pick up and turn,” said Watt. “We’re challenging them to work on something monolithic to them, and that they have to move themselves around instead of moving the piece around.”

Contact Tom Patrick at


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