It’s a frozen world outside. And what do kids (big kids, little kids, middle-sized kids) do to have fun in the snow and ice? They play. They build. They slide, ski, swish. They fish on the ice. They find ways of making the frozen world fun.
The students up at Michigan Technological University in Houghton celebrate this frozen time of year by building snow statues for the annual Winter Carnival. The theme for this year’s fun was “Games We Know Captured in Snow”.
Every year the students capture the impossible through the mediums of ice and snow. They sculpt incredible creations which the rest of us admire as we attempt to snap our cameras and witness the amazing feats of engineering and art.
Since 1922, back when the college was called The Michigan College of Mines, students have celebrated this mid-winter carnival. Their first production was a one-night show called the “Ice Carnival”. Acts were presented in circus style, with students in costume depicting various animals. By 1927 events expanded to include many traditions of today’s carnival, and in 1940, snow statues became established as the backbone of Winter Carnival.
I am here to tell you that the ice statues are worth viewing. However–and you must remember this–if you want to take photos of the ice sculptures, please choose a sunny day. Without a sunny day, the statues lack their usual shine and glimmer and brightness.
In fact, 75% of my photos (taken yesterday on a gray Friday) looked like white upon white. No contrast, no ooompah! If you want to see statues on a bright winter afternoon, please step back in time to last year. Here is the link to the 2009 Ice Carnival.
I also experienced a case of extreme camera-envy while snapping attentively at the snow sculptures. Every other sculpture-viewer wore one of those Nikon or Canon’s around their necks with long adjustable lenses. I felt naked with the poor little Sony Cybershot. Inadequate. They looked like real photographers. The statues were probably leaping out of the gray world on THEIR cameras.
But no matter. Enough photos turned out to give you a flavor of the winter carnival snow statues. Can you tell how much fun it is to view them? Can you tell how much work the students put into them?
Remember to visit on a sunny day for optimal viewing results. Bring some hot chocolate or a cup of steaming coffee. Plan on an hour to meander leisurely through campus, admiring the student’s creations. And then plan to come back next year.