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How the Experts Build a Snowman

How the Experts Build a Snowman - poster

In 1951, Popular Science featured Dartmouth students under the headline “How the Experts Build a Snow Man.” Since the 1920s, snow sculptures on the Green have served as focal points for Winter Carnival. Each year Dartmouth students have puzzled, schemed, designed and built wondrous sculptures. They vary from the absurd to the sublime. There are feats of engineering that leave you awed, whimsy that makes you laugh, special effects to thrill, and even a Guinness World Record. This exhibit looks at some our favorite “Center of the Green” snow sculptures from 1924 to 1987 to celebrate the artistry and expertise of Dartmouth’s snowman builders.

The exhibit was curated by Barbara Krieger and Jay Satterfield and was on display in the Class of 1965 Galleries February 6 - March 1, 2015.

You may download a small, 8x10 version of the poster: HowTheExpertsBuildASnowman.jpg

Chronology of Snow Sculptures Featured

To see images of the various snow sculptures, come to Rauner and ask for the "Snow" photo file.

1924: First carnival sculpture to be built on the Green

1930: Tower of ice / When completed it stood taller than its framing

1931: Temple of Love / designed by Abner Dean, ’31

1932: Dartmouth College’s founder and first president, Eleazar Wheelock

1938: Mr. Satyr / Half man, half devil

1939: Eleazar Wheelock, again, looking less presidential than in 1932. / Designed by Dick Brooks, ’40, the sculpture was estimated to weigh 40 tons.

1940: Starshooter / Designed by Nat Sample ’40, and standing 32 feet

1941: Heyerdahl / Designed by Charles Weisker ’41, and, at 40 feet, the tallest sculpture constructed to that time

1947: Schuss-teufel, the speed devil / Designed by ski coach Walter Prager, with engineering assistance from Thayer School students for the cantilevered front

1949: Stiefelmannchen (Little man in a boot)

1950: Wunderbar!

1951: Alpendoodler / The construction of this sculpture, with its long alpenhorn, inspired an article in Popular Science.

1955: Nanook of the North / Designed by Lou Miano, ’55. His original drawing had Nanook on an igloo, until someone suggested “put him on a whale.” To see the original drawings at Rauner, ask for MS-1140 (Lou Miano papers), Box 4. For a clay model, ask MS-1140 (Lou Miano papers), Box 7.

1956: Ullr

1958: Space Age

1960: Swiss Holiday

1961: Prohibition Blues

1969: In the Land of Fire and Ice / The dragon had a gas line installed so it could actually breathe fire.

1977: Spirit of Wintergreen

1972: Winterland of Oz

1976: A Star-Spangled Carnival

1980: The 1980 Dartmouth Games: Winter Takes All / A snow gun was brought in from Killington to make snow on the green for the sculpture.

1981: Hanover Hears a Who

1986: Where the Wild Things Are

1987: Blizzard on Bourbon Street / The height of Dartmouth’s snowman broke the Guinness World Record, and an enterprising person sold pieces of it on Main Street during Carnival.