Snow Sculpture Geography


SnowWarrior.jpgThe Mid-Atlantic United States has been hit by not one, but two major snowstorms in the last week. The Federal Government has been closed for four days, leaving many dutiful students and employees stranded at home. In between rattling off memos and writing papers from their remote locations, some area residents have taken advantage of the rare wintry conditions to have some fun–and avoid going stir crazy during the “Snowpocalyse.”

A recent article from Fredericksburg, VA, included photos of local snow-masterpieces. I was impressed by a detailed Terra Cotta Warrior, constructed by a family who had recently visited the exhibit at our National Geographic  Museum. Another image from the snow photo gallery showed a seated male figure with chiseled abs, not unlike a Greek god. The story got me thinking: I wonder what other images of geographic snow sculptures I can find?


Growing up in the cold-weather region of Boston, I’ve seen my share of ice sculptures. The extravagant creations require sophisticated tools, and are therefore typically produced by professional artists. I can’t recall seeing a true snow sculpture, however, which, like a sandcastle, is more accessible to the amateur artisan. Snow sculptures are also more difficult to sustain amid temperamental weather conditions, I’ve learned, which is why professionals tend to stick with ice (no pun intended).

So, while snow sculptures seem to be less common than their icy counterparts, I searched the internet and found a fascinating article about the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, held annually in the Heilongjiang Province of China, which borders Siberia.



In 2008, the year of the Beijing Olympics, 600 sculptors from 40 countries used 120,000 cubic feet of snow and ice to create an Olympic-themed landscape, which included architectural icons from around the world: Russian churches, French cathedrals, Chinese palaces, and an ice Acropolis, all watchfully guarded over be an elegant maiden symbolizing the Olympic spirit. The landscape even featured a replica of Stonehenge in honor of the London 2012 Olympics. I think the white color of the snow lends itself especially well–better than ice–to renderings of stone and marble architecture, such as that of Ancient Greece and the churches of France and Russia.

Read the article and tell us: Have you done any geographic crafting, outside or inside, during a blizzard?

For more ideas, check out our blog entries about Geo-Crafts and Global Gingerbread Villages from this past December holiday season.

Sarah Jane for My Wonderful World


Images courtesy Free Lance-Star Publishing Co. (Fredericksburg); Associated Newspapers Ltd. (Daily Mail

6 thoughts on “Snow Sculpture Geography

  1. Truly incredible Chinese sculpture.
    As well as capturing photos of the work at its best it would have been good to have recorded its melting for posterity too.
    There’s a comedian called Milton Jones who has a good snow sculpture joke:
    “I thought I’d discovered a mass grave of snowmen….but it turns out it was just a field of carrots.”

  2. whoa at that second picture!
    they carved that out of ice and people are standing on it. impressive.

  3. Love the creativity this snowstorm has ignited.
    Does this blog have an email address? I’d like to submit an entry on human geography and recent trip to India. Thanks.

  4. Except for shoveling out my car I have done no sculpting of the snow. I decided to ride out snowmagedon from the safety of my friends house.

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