Artworks of ice and snow

17. January 2018

A 2 x 2.5 meter block of snow and ice, a template carved out of wood, tools and talented and motivated carving artists. You really do not need more and within a few days, artful snow figures are conjured up from ice blocks. Just in time for the Seefeld Snow Festival.

Snow sculptures as a highlight

The hosts of Seefeld’s pedestrian zone are once again inviting to the annual snow festival. On January 20, the Seefeld village center is again filled with snow bars, tempting drinks and culinary delights to “feel good”. Of course, the traditional snow figures can`t be missing.
Because they make the Snow Festival to something very special.

Motivated carving students

The woodcarvers from Oberammergau, Garmisch and Berchtesgaden realize their creative ideas also this year in artistic designs. But before they can actually start, a lot of preparation is needed. “We start making the model weeks in school,” explains Amelie. She is from the carving school Oberammergau and this year part of it for the first time.
Every year they get a different theme from the schools. This year, the students will realize their ideas about “winter sports”. But before that happens, sketches are made, styrofoam and wooden figures are carved, until the original model is created and the journey to the Olympiaregion Seefeld can start.
45 pupils are working on a total of 19 snow plows this year. In Leutasch seven snow figures and in Seefeld 12 snow figures can be seen.

Three days “carving time”

On Monday before the snow festival the talented artists will start. They place their model on a small wooden board in front of the still chunky snow block. Compared to the giant, the model looks even tinier than it actually is. It serves as a template and in just three days arises the snow figure from the idea of ​​creating it. That is currently hard to believe.
But not for the students – they are already very motivated and looking forward to the work. The following three days are planned in detail.

Cold and wet work

First of all, when we meet the students on the first day of work, we have a question that burns under our fingernails: how difficult is it actually to make a snow figure? Andi, a carving student from the carving school Berchtesgaden, explains us. “Working in snow and ice is actually much easier than using wood or polystyrene,” he explains as he scrapers the snow away with a scraper and the snow block takes on its first silhouettes.

Brooms, scrapers, scratches, small spatulas as tools for detailed work – that’s what the artists have in common. Their tools. Nothing works without it.
“The advantage of snow is that you can mend mistakes when you do them,” explains the young artist. “You just put some snow on it again, mix everything with water and wait until it is solid again and you can continue carving. The downside is that the work gets really cold after a few hours. ”

We can truly imagine that. After hours sitting in the snow and with wet gloves the fingers freeze. Nevertheless, the motivation of the students is unbroken. Where do you get that from, when your butt is cold and your fingers are half frozen? “If you work on such a big project and see that it is taking on more and more forms by the hour, then you keep working and hardly feel the cold anymore. You’re so motivated to finish the project that you forget almost everything around you, “explains Kim, a Garmisch carving student who’s been there for the third time.

Magnificent works of art

When we come to the students again on Wednesday afternoon, we are very surprised. The figures are almost finished. Skiers, cross-country skiers, ski jumpers and ice skaters have emerged from snow blocks. Life-size. Really. Impressively.

The figures are up to 2.5 meters high and they are the pride of the carving artists. The teachers of the schools walk from snow figure to snow figure, watch their proteges and give with trained artist’s eye still one or the other tip, how depths seem better or where one or the other “snowbump” could still be grounded. But the snow figures are almost done. Just in time …

Hike to the snow figures

Because already on Thursday before the Seefeld Snow Festival, the 18th of January, there will be a guided torch hike to the carved snow figures. Participation is free and the torches are provided by the Tourist Board. Demand is high and many applications have been received weeks in advance. The carving students and teachers reveal interesting facts about the preliminary work and the creation of the figures, explain what they have carved or imagined and what they want to say with the resulting work of art. A unique experience, which not only honors the work of the artists, but also puts the snow figures in a very special light.

The Seefeld Snow Festival

On Saturday, the 20th of January the time finally is right. The Olympiaregion Seefeld lures with the motto “winter sports”, allowing visitors to participate in the winter sports experience up close. The Seefeld pedestrian zone shines in an icy glow and invites you to celebrate with musical and culinary highlights.

Cool drinks are best enjoyed on the extra-long, frosty snow bar. Winter funfair games like laser biathlon or a “shooting-booth” are waiting to be tried out from small to large. Another highlight is the vaulting group, which invites the little ones to snow pony trekking, as well as the traditional mask carving of the “Seefelder Tuifl”, where visitors can get an insight into the eerie but artistic world of Krampus.

In addition to an attractive children’s program, culinary highlights of the Seefeld gastronomy and live music, there is of course still something in the Seefeld pedestrian zone from 11 am to 1 am: the illuminated sculptures made of snow and ice. The hand-carved, larger-than-life works of art are particularly impressive because of their detailed design, which chisels the carving students from Berchtesgaden, Garmisch and Oberammergau out of the ice with great attention to detail. The snow sculptures adorn the Seefeld pedestrian zone and can be admired up close.

Photos: Olympiaregion Seefeld, Heinz Holzknecht

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