‘The snow must go on’ — How Minnesota snow sculptors are adapting to unseasonably warm weather
Snow sculptors are scrambling to make snow ahead of several big events and popular traditions in the metro.
The Bartz Brothers are known for carving 20-foot-tall snow sculptures in an effort to raise money for charity.
Typically, they are able to haul truck-fulls of snow from recently plowed parking lots.
They have not been able to do that this winter due to the unseasonably warm temperatures and lack of snow.
Now, they are using a snow machine to make snow, thanks to supplies from the city of New Brighton and donations from the community.
“None of this snow came from Mother Nature!” said Austin Bartz. “This is the backup plan of the backup plan. We’ve had a lot of different plans. We were like, ‘oh, maybe we’ll haul snow in from somewhere like Duluth.’ Well, Duluth doesn’t have any snow, so that didn’t work!”
Bartz said they started making snow about two weeks ago and are now starting to build snow bricks for their walkway.
In order to start the massive snow sculpture itself, they need even more snow.
“We still need low temperatures and low humidity so we can run the snow machine. And then we would also like God to give us some snow for sure! We need some natural snow. That would help out the cause,” Bartz said.
In Stillwater, organizers of the World Snow Sculpting Championship are also hoping for colder temperatures, with two weeks to go until the start of a major competition.
“I’ve never in my entire life thought I would wish for colder weather in January, but here we are!” said Robin Anthony, president of the Greater Stillwater Chamber & Foundation, which is hosting the event.
The 3rd annual competition will bring in snow sculpting teams from around the world.
It has drawn more than 80,000 people to Stillwater in previous years.
Anthony said planning for the event started 11 months ago but they never expected this extreme lack of snow in the homestretch to the event.
“It is a little tricky because these teams fly from around the world and they already all have their flights, so it’s really not an option to postpone it,” Anthony said.
The event has partnered with nearby ski hill Afton Alps to make snow for the competition.
A spokesperson for Afton Alps said they brought one of their snow guns to town and will start making snow on Saturday.
“It’s supposed to get down to the teens, so we’re very excited about that because that’s perfect for snowmaking,” Anthony said. “It looks like it’s going to happen so we’re really, really excited. Those folks up at Afton know what they’re doing and we’re really relying on their professionalism and expertise.”
The Stillwater World Snow Sculpting Championship kicks off Wednesday, Jan. 17. For a full schedule of events, click here.