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Sapporo Snow Festival 1997

This week is the start of the Sapporo Snow Festival, and there have already been stories on the TV news of the giant snow sculptures ready for all the visitors. 12 years ago this week, I was there as a member of Team Australia, building a 3 metre high pair of gumnut babies in the International Competition.  It was during the year I was a university student in Chiba, and it was an amazing opportunity.

 

Our team was made up of five uni students all living around Tokyo. We all got to wear green and gold Team Australia snowsuits, were led into the International Competition opening ceremony with a military band, and got to dance in a conga line with all 3 Miss Sapporos at the welcome party.  It perhaps felt a bit like being at the Olympics!

We had around 4 days to carve our design out of our 3 cubic metre block of snow.  There were around 15 or 20 teams from all around the world, and the teams that fared best were the countries that don’t have snow, especially south east Asian countries.  Their teams were made up of chefs from 5 star hotels, who make ice carvings in the resort hotel foyers!

The photos in this post are located at a website that the Swedish team ran during the event – Viking Venture – and it’s great to see that it’s still live on the Internet after all these years.  Those guys were way ahead of their time – running a blog before blogs were invented.  They uploaded their diary each day, and posted photos of all the teams and the statues.  The day after the event finished, the Swedes taught me how to ski at a nearby Sapporo ski field.  A few years later, they taught me how to ice skate in Stockholm.

The 2009 International Snow Sculture Contest is about to start.  What will the teams create this year?

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