LAKE GENEVA — Lake Geneva is once again host to the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition. It is all part of the city's annual Winterfest celebrations from Feb. 3 to 7.
The competition features some of the best snow sculptors from around the country. It's invite only, and competitors had to win their regional competition to get asked to come to Lake Geneva. The event is free to the public.
It features participants from Milwaukee like Mike Nehs who has been doing it since 1989.
"You get to make something, out of (snow) and within weeks it can be gone. So it's really nice to come in let the people enjoy it, and then we get to walk away from it," he said.
Nehs has never won the competition, but he has gotten 2nd and 3rd place a few times.
Sculptors come from as far away as Alaska and Florida to carve 10 foot by 8 foot larger than life figures. Don't count out the Floridians just because they don't get snow down there. Team captain Amanda Bolduc is a decorated sand and snow sculptor.
"Nerves of steel. We are ready to take this home baby," she said with a smile after being asked if she was nervous.
You can ask about her process and what goes into making such a large sculpture, but maybe hold off on the jokes about being from Florida. She said during the first half of the first day she already was asked "20 to 30 times" about that.
Her favorite part about the competition is seeing people's reactions to her art.
"I love being able to create a piece for the audience that moves them emotionally. The thing with sculpting, there’s such a dynamic to it. It brings out emotions in people. It brings out joy. It brings out sadness."
There is no prize money at stake; however, the winner gets the chance to compete internationally.