BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – Larger than life works of art are on display in Breckenridge at the 23rd annual International Snow Sculpture Championships.

Fifteen teams competed in the event. Some weren’t so lucky as a few of the sculptures crumbled.

On Sunday afternoon the team from Mongolia that made a spectacularly detailed depiction of two horse riders won the overall prize.

“This competition this year is phenomenal,” Donald Watt with Team Yukon said. “Just some really great, great pieces here and I don’t think there’s anyone here who can be ashamed of what they did.”

The process started nearly two weeks ago by forming the massive cubes as Town of Breckenridge employees and a slew of volunteers stomped snow down.

“It’s laying it out inside that 10-foot by 10-foot footprint and it’s 12 feet high that we’re going to build up; and that’s all the discussion we have six, eight months ago, and then we build a scale model,” Watt said.

After the artists got to carving for just a few days, some tremendous sculptures took shape.

Many of the sculptures were from teams coming from different continents.

“If you look at our Facebook page right now, it’s great to see all these different languages chiming in,” Rachel Zerowin with the Breckenridge Resort Chamber said. “This is one of the most diverse fields of artists that we’ve ever had.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Snow Sculpture Championships 2013

The teams had to battle the unusually dry and warm mid winter.

“We had to work around the weather here. This was an interesting year, although because I’ve been here before, I know that Breckenridge can get quite sunny and can get quite warm,” Watt said.

Some teams weren’t as successful as some designs fell early in the week.

“We were working here and you could hear the thump, and luckily all the carvers were outside the piece because moments before they were underneath those pieces,” Watt said. “Anyone of these pieces would have done extreme damage to a body.”

In turn, the warm weather helped add detail to Team Yukon’s piece.

“We looked at it and said, ‘This is great.’ So we added more icicles to it around the mouth to add that more saliva look,” Watt said.

Team Yukon's sculpture (credit: CBS)

Team Yukon’s sculpture (credit: CBS)

Town officials say the detail they are looking for is big crowds.

“Since the event is free we do see a lot of people here. They’re checking out the town, they’re checking out Main Street, and they’re checking out the event,” Zerowin said. “That’s a positive for Breckenridge businesses.”

The designs will be on display for another week.

LINK: International Snow Sculpture Championships


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