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Snow Sculptors Rely on Weather -- and Ingenuity

As snow turns to slush on the Green, a spell of unusually warm winter weather threatens one of Dartmouth's oldest traditions-the Winter Carnival snow sculpture. But the snow sculpture committee remains optimistic that the sculpture will be completed by Carnival's opening ceremonies on Thursday Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. on the Green. The team is transporting snow from Sculley-Fahey Field and ice shavings from Lebanon's Campion Ice Rink.

Winter Carnival snow sculpture
Chris Palashenski '07 and Victoria Solbert '07 pause for a moment during construction of the Winter Carnival snow sculpture on January 30. This is the third sculpture both students have worked on.

Committee Chair Dan Schneider '07 explains, "One year it was necessary to borrow snow guns from local ski areas and have the Hanover Fire department pump water into the snow-making machines. But this winter we think we have enough alternatives."

Linda Kennedy, director of student activities, seconds Schneider's optimism. "Each year there is a fair amount of concern over whether there will be enough snow. With our various back-up plans we always manage to get the job done. The addition of Sculley-Fahey to these plans has been excellent-it's nearby, flat, and most important, the snow is perfectly clean. No one wants a gray sculpture," she says.

With help from nearly 200 student volunteers from fraternities, sororities, varsity athletic teams, and members of the Dartmouth Outing Club, the committee plans to build a 24 foot tall sloping "D" with mischievous cartoon characters bobsledding down the emblem's curve. An Olympic torch made of snow will sit on the back left corner of the sculpture and passageways through the "D" provide access to a tribute to past and present Dartmouth winter Olympians. "Once through the passageway," Schneider says, "you'll be standing inside the 'D.' Pictures and posters providing information on Dartmouth winter Olympians will cover the curved snow walls."

Athletes from the Big Green have been hitting the Olympic slopes since John B. Carleton '22 was on the U.S. team for the first Winter Games in 1924. Since Carleton's skis paved the way, the College has been represented by athletes and coaches at every Winter Olympics. The sculpture's design ties into the 96th Winter Carnival theme, "The Stupendous Games: Mischief in the Snow."

Schneider estimates that this year's sculpture will require roughly 275 cubic yards of snow, the equivalent of 7,000 large trashcans full.


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Last Updated: 12/17/08