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20th Annual Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships


String Theory “Each of our souls is like the vibrating string of the violin; resonating from the most profound sub-atomic level to the celestial reaches beyond. Music is the portal that allows us to connect our spirit to the sublime, and to grasp our place in it.�


This is the story of the birthing of a sculpture. Each year, teams travel from around the globe to coax their visions out of a 20-Ton block of Breckenridge’s finest snow. They transform a simple parking lot into a glittering spectacle of sculpture performed live over the 3 1/2 days of the competition. It is a celebration of winter, art, and sport in the international language of snow. This year, our sculpture “String Theory” was inspired by a concert we attended at the Riverwalk Center last summer. It included performances by Brendon Anthony, whose violin you now hear. His control over the vibrating strings of the violin, and the role that the violin has played in bringing music to the world over the centuries, suggested the seeds of an image, and an idea was born.

The immediate realization was: Risky. And technically challenging. The violinist must have a bow, which had to be tall, skinny and unsupported. If it fell, or broke, the sculpture would be a bust. The bow would have to be perfectly vertical to support itself, especially since we would be extending it another 6 feet in height above the original snowblock.


String theory is a new branch of physics. It is a theoretical description that has shown great promise in uniting our understanding of what happens at the sub-atomic level with what we believe to be true in the larger world of matter and energy. To date, the laws that appear to govern these two domains are irreconcilable, and obviously this cannot be correct.


Finding a bridge between these two clearly interconnected realities has been the Holy Grail of physics for decades. String Theory describes all matter and energy as being composed of tiny, vibrating “strings�, each with its unique resonance, or harmonic.


7 Countries, 12 Teams, each with a 20 ton block of snow, and a vision. Waiting for the gun and the beginning of the 65 hour sculpting period. Event organizers prankishly used the pre-Civil War spelling of Breckenridge on our block.


TEAM BRECKENRIDGE, COLORADO Ron Shelton

Rob Neyland, Captain

Keith Martin

Tom Day


Bow Face

Day One: A work in progress

The first day is spent hunking off literally 8 tons of snow with hand tools to begin revealing the basic form. Blocks are stacked to extend the bow vertically rising 6 feet above the original 12 foot snowblock.


Bucket, shovel, ice chipper, snow scoop, ladder and one set of scaffolding. All you have to do is remove any of the snow that doesn’t belong, and presto! Out comes your sculpture.


All kinds of shovels, hatchets, floor scrapers, ice scrapers, cheese graters, saws, and chisels. Gardening tools are great. We have found that the floor scrapers with replaceable blades used in the flooring and tile trades, to be the most useful. Little by little the image emerges!


The weary team poses at the 10 AM deadline with the finished sculpture, after the final 24-hour push to the finish line...


By dawn’s early light, at last the sculptures are completed.


Team Lithuania — Gold Medal

Team USA Alaska — People’s Choice

Team Canada, Ontario — Silver Medal

Team China


The experience for thousands of viewers was enhanced by the addition of this musical track, uniquely composed for “String Theory“.


One of the underground traditions to the Breckenridge competition comes on Sunday night when we briefly illuminate the sculptures, creating a dramatic spectacle of fire and ice. This glow really highlighted the ice strings on the violin.


The performing arts live in Breckenridge! Rob Neyland Owner/Broker Associate

neyland@realtor.com CELL: (970) 390-1137


STRING THEORY