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Snowmaking Saves 30th Annual Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition

News

Snowmaking Saves 30th Annual Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition

Mike Costello

The 30th Annual Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition will go on!  This free, family-friendly community winter event hosted by the Rockford Park District is scheduled to be held in Sinnissippi Park, 1401 N. Second St., Rockford, IL, January 27-30, 2016. The event brings teams from around the state to Rockford to compete for the right to represent Illinois in the U.S. Nationals Snow Sculpting Competition; there is also a high school division. Typically, more than 30,000 attend the Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition to admire the massive works of snow art. 

The competition had already been postponed due to not having enough usable snow at the Chicago Rockford International Airport.  Rockford Park District staff explored various snowmaking options, and thanks to a snocross club in Illinois, the District was able to rent their snowmaking equipment.  The Chicago Rockford International Airport provided a cold water source, and Mother Nature is providing consistently cold temperatures to make snow.  Unfortunately, snowmaking equipment at Gateway Parks at Alpine Hills Adventure Park & Golf Center, 4402 Larson Ave. was unavailable as warmer weather pushed back their opening date so Gateway Parks is still utilizing their snowmaking machines to sculpt more tubing lanes and keep up on features created for snowboarders. 

“This is an example of teamwork at its finest! Thanks to a lot of creative ideas, and utilizing community resources we now have piles of snow at the airport.  As of today, we have made enough snow to build the snow blocks and begin the competition next Wednesday,” says John Beck, Events & Recreation Projects Manager.  

The Rockford Park District would like to thank the following organizations and businesses for their support in snowmaking efforts: 
•    Chicago Rockford International Airport for providing a cold water source, fire truck to pump water, and space to make snow
•    Rockford Fire Department and Cherry Valley Fire Department for offering technical assistance
•    Columbia Pipe and Supply Co. helped problem solve adapter connections
•    GLX Great Lakes Snocross for providing snow cannons and hose
•    Blake Oil Company brought diesel fuel on-site  

About the Competition
Twelve teams from Illinois will compete, with the winner advancing to the 2017 U.S. Nationals Snow Sculpting Competition in Lake Geneva, WI. One exhibition team (the winner of last year’s Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition, and competing in this year’s US Nationals in Lake Geneva) will also carve a sculpture. Fifteen area high school teams will participate in the High School Division. The High School Division competition will take place January 28-30, 2016. High school teams begin sculpting at noon on Thursday, January 28, 2016.

Competition Timeline
State teams will begin sculpting on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. Sculpting will end at 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 30, 2016, at which time judging will take place. The public is encouraged to cast their vote for the People’s Choice award between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on January 30. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony at 1 p.m. in the Sinnissippi Park maintenance building. 

Competition Rules
Three sculptors make up a state team, and high school teams have four sculptors. The sculptors may not use any power tools or pre-fabricated molds. Teams use axes, machetes, water buckets, shovels, saws, ice chisels, and homemade scraping tools. Each team is assigned (by lottery) a block of snow that is 6 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 10 feet high. Finished pieces may not expand beyond 12 feet in diameter, but height is unlimited. High school blocks are 4 feet wide, 4 feet long, and 6 feet high.

Viewing Information
Sinnissippi Park is open to the public for sculpture viewing while weather permits. Viewing hours are daily from sunrise until 11:00 p.m. There is no admission fee, but donations are welcome. Visitors may drive or walk through the park; visitors are encouraged to take the time to walk through, to maximize their experience, and allow them to view the sculptures from all sides. Limited parking is available at Sinnissippi Park.  Additional parking is available at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens just west of Sinnissippi Park across  N. Second St.

The Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition is hosted by the Rockford Park District, and receives tremendous support from the community through financial and in-kind donations. Major donors for 2016 are ABC Catering, Advanced Machine & Engineering, Chicago Rockford International Airport, Creative Crane, Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center, Rigging, Henning Inc., Rock River Water Reclamation District, Scandroli Construction, Stockholm Inn, William Charles Construction, and Winnebago County Highway Department. Supporting sponsors for 2016 are: co-sponsor Cliffbreakers Riverside Hotel & Conference Center and WIFR-TV. Please look for 2016 block sponsors on site near each sculpture.