Snow sculpting competition at Suicide Six carves out fun in frigid temperatures

  • Bob Adams, of Sandwich, N.H., works on a snow sculpture titled “First Dance” during The Flurry: Vermont Snow Sculpture Festival and Competition at Suicide Six Ski Area in South Pomfret, Vt., on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report For America — Alex Driehaus

  • From left, Adrian Tans, of Woodstock, Vt., Brooke Monte, of Burlington, Vt., and Michael Nedell, of Burlington, Vt., work on snow sculpture titled “Double Diamond” during The Flurry: Vermont Snow Sculpture Festival and Competition at Suicide Six Ski Area in South Pomfret, Vt., on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report For America photographs — Alex Driehaus

  • Dave Rothstein, right, of Northampton, Mass., works on a snow sculpture titled “Together Furever” during The Flurry: Vermont Snow Sculpture Festival and Competition at Suicide Six Ski Area in South Pomfret, Vt., on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/16/2022 6:46:16 AM
Modified: 1/17/2022 8:42:49 PM

POMFRET — Amid Saturday’s frigid temperatures, Ben Fox, an event organizer for the Pomfret nonprofit Artistree, said he found himself “dreaming of the desert.”

So Fox and his team of snow sculptors, “The Crafty Leaves,” worked to chisel and sand down a kiva, a type of building made by the Hopi tribe out of the southwestern U.S., from a chunk of snow at Suicide Six Ski Area in South Pomfret as part of “The Flurry,” an annual snow sculpting competition. The winners, to be determined in a vote midday Sunday, will go on to a national competition in Lake Geneva, Wis., in February 2023.

Fox, who like all in attendance was bundled up against the chill, which saw highs in the single digits, said his goal was to build a structure out of the snow, called “Intro-spection,” that creates a sense of calm.

As an art therapist, he said he’s “all about the inside.”

Fox’s was one of six teams at work on Saturday. They began Friday morning and by midday Saturday each snow block was beginning to take shape. The teams will evaluate one another’s sculptures for technique and execution, as well as the story behind the shape. The teams have until noon on Sunday to complete their pieces.

Dave Rothstein, of Northampton, Mass., had sculpted mountains and clouds into the top of his snow block. He then commenced work on two shapes lower down that were to become cats, looking up at the mountains. He called the project “Together Furever,” he said.

Rothstein said he’s been carving snow for about two decades. He got his start when he lived in Alaska and there were “limited choices” of hobbies.

“I got hooked,” he said.

He especially likes the Pomfret event, which was previously held on the Green in Woodstock and before that in Burlington. He called it the “friendliest event” with a “beautiful backdrop.”

One element of the contest also is the engagement with members of the public. Though first place will be given to the Vermont team selected by voting among the teams, spectators also can vote on a “People’s Choice” award.

Rothstein said one of his favorite elements of the competition is “making little kids smile and big kids, too.”

One little kid doing some smiling was 3-year-old Freddie Clark, of Windsor. Fox showed Freddie and his parents a small block of snow and gave him some tools, including what looked like a cheese grater and a curry comb.

Freddie smiled as he sanded the snow. His mother, Kate Duffy, said Freddie, who will be 4 in March, is “enthusiastic with everything that he does.”

The event gave the family, who moved to Windsor last month, “some place to go,” Duffy said. They “have to get outside this winter.”

The Pour Saps, who have been to the national competition four times and won it in 2020, worked on Saturday to shape their block of snow into a rabbit pulling a magician out of a hat. Their sculpting was guided by a model made out of oil-based clay. They will be representing Vermont at this year’s national competition in Wisconsin next month.

Temperatures on Saturday were well below the 20s, which would be ideal conditions for snow sculpting, according to West Hartford resident Tony Perham, a member of the Pour Saps team. Still, he said, it was better than trying to work with slush in 40-degree temperatures, as has happened in other years.

Perham said his favorite part of the competition is “the endurance part of it.” It’s “physically gratifying when you’re done.”

Winners of “The Flurry” will be announced at 1 p.m. Sunday. There is no fee for spectators.

Artistree and Suicide Six will host a February vacation snow-sculpting camps for children ages 8-12 on Feb. 15 and 17 from 10 a.m.-noon. Each two-hour session costs $35. More information is online at: artistreevt.org/february-vacation-camp-8-12-snow-sculpting.html.

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.




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