In their final competition of the year, Team Yukon captured the public’s choice and the artist prize, but came home with a silver in the International Snow Sculpture Competition at the Quebec Winter Carnival.
“It was a tough competition,” said Yukon team member Donald C. Watt. “There was a lot good sculptures there and we’re really happy to place on the podium.
“I knew it was going to be between us and Argentina and the Ukraine.”
The Argentina team took first.
“The three of them are like us, they’re three artists that work in three dimensions,” said Watt.
“Ours was technically difficult in detail, etcetera. Theirs was more artistic, less theme oriented like we usually do – more just a piece of art.
“So (the judges) fell for that trap,” he added, with a chuckle.
Team Yukon’s piece was titled the Blanket Toss, which was a very technical piece depicting a group of people tossing a person on a blanket. The piece was inspired by Inuvialuit hunters who would toss a person high in the air in order of seeing over the horizon to find game to hunt.
The night before the judging, all the teams fell victim to the elements as freezing rain coated the sculptures with a centimetre or two of ice.
“Luckily we had completed all our detail and required carving from the blanket up,” said Watt. “So we just had to, for the rest of the night, complete the moccasins, the boots and the things protected by the blanket.
“So our piece came out as we anticipated. I always design a piece that will withstand many types of weather.”
Unfortunately, not everyone was so lucky. The added weight from the ice caused the collapse of pieces by Venezuela and Ecuador.
“I’ve lost structures and I know exactly how they felt,” said Watt. “They were trying something that couldn’t handle the extra ice.”
The silver is the second of the season for Team Yukon, having finished second in their first competition of the year in Harbin, China. The team also picked up a pair of gold medals, first in the International Snow Carving Festival 2009 in Breckenridge, Colorado, and then last week after defending their title at the national competition also held in Quebec.
“We have sitting out there in people’s memories seven great sculptures, so we’re happy,” said Watt.
Watt, and his teammates Calvin Morberg and Michael Lane, will be back in Whitehorse this coming week for the “Air Canada Snow Sculpture Pavilion” that will take place during the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Festival in Shipyards Park Wednesday through to Sunday.
“It’s an event I started with the help of the city of Whitehorse (and Yukon government) five or six years ago,” said Watt. “It’s grown annually and it’s an international event – we’ve got 14 teams coming.”
Included among them is the recently crowed Finland champions. Other teams include one from Switzerland, a handful of American teams and the rest are Canadian.
Watt and his team will not be competing because his duties as an organizer will occupy too much of his time.
“If I didn’t host it, it wouldn’t run,” said Watt. “I’m up more hours that the carvers are just to make sure it happens.”
In past years their competition consisted of a public vote and an artist award. This year, however, there will be a jury selection and the winning team will receive gold nuggets donated by Skookum Asphalt of Whitehorse.
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