Create a snow masterpiece

The nation’s top snow sculptors will be packing their hand tools (power tools of any sort are not permitted) and heading to southeastern Wisconsin to compete in the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship from Feb. 3-7 in Lake Geneva, Wis.

Although the teams are composed of people with backgrounds in architecture, engineering, art and design and mathematics, don’t let that scare you away from creating your own snow art right in your own backyard.

All you need is a pile of well-packed snow, an idea and a few simple tools.

To get started, cut the flaps off a big cardboard box, such as an appliance carton, so you are left with a hollow rectangle. Fill and pack the box with fresh snow and let it sit until the next day. Lift off the box and you are ready to create your snow sculpture.

Use a model as a guide, such as a stuffed animal, action figure or you can design your own using modeling clay. Use a beach shovel, spatula and wooden spoon to refine the shapes and a tablespoon or tongue depressor to scrape out the fine details.

Start small and work your way up to larger sculptures. You don’t want your enthusiasm to become victim to an overly ambitious project. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

Create a snow turtle: Start off with a mound of snow for the body, etch in a shell pattern and add mounds of snow for the legs and head. A snow turtle is ideal for younger kids.

Pretend that you are at the beach: Instead of sand, create a castle from snow. The white stuff is the perfect ingredient to build a wonderful castle, complete with turrets and an ice moat.

Stick to simple geometric shapes like blocks, cubes, pyramids and spheres.

For information on the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship and Winterfest, contact the Lake Geneva Area Convention& Visitors Bureau at (800) 345-1020 or visit www.lakegenevawi.com.

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