Sculpting contest in Jackson is a(nother) good use for snow

Special to the Union Leader
January 27. 2013 7:36PM
Dick Devallian's Popeye didn't mind the cold at the 12th annual Jackson Invitational Snow Sculpting Competition. (SARA YOUNG-KNOX PHOTO)

JACKSON - It's not often that you see an elephant at the base of a ski slope, and a white pachyderm to boot, back that's exactly what was sitting just a bit up from the lodge at Black Mountain on Saturday and Sunday.

The elephant and its human cannon ball, the creation of Knight, Wade and Wark, wasn't the only creature out of its normal habitat at the 12th annual Jackson Invitational Snow Sculpting Competition this past weekend. There was a cat hanging from a branch, courtesy of Team Meyers and Lewis. There were two squirrels with acorns - Team Moore, Sanborn Phipps and Whitty, and Team Parsons.

Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein made up their own myth. "Fleeing melting ice in search of a sub zero landscape, the Black Mountain Walrus brought her child to the ski slopes above Jackson NH," the two artists wrote. "Seeking the familiar temperatures of the deep arctic, she was drawn to this frosty frontier. Mother Walrus has known a lifetime of ice and frigid wind and has settled into Jackson to make a second home."

The temperatures on Saturday flirted with sub-arctic readings, but as with all of the coldest January days, the sky was a brilliant blue. Sunday warmed up to the 20s. "We've been watching all weekend," Chris Green of Atkinson said, calling the sculptures "absolutely beautiful."

Green wasn't alone. Kathleen Driscoll, executive director of the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce, said that 2,000 visitors had walked through the sculpture area by noon on Sunday.

Sculptors started chipping away at their 4 by 8 cylinder of snow on Friday night and worked through Saturday as skiers schussed by. Some worked from sketched renderings, while others had clay models on their tool table.

"I'm hooked on it," said first-timer Kathy Fries "It was a blast." Fries and Sandy Hall and Eric Marnich won first place in the New Hampshire sanctioned category, get to represent the state at the Nationals in Wisconsin in 2014, for their "A Wing and a Prayer" angel. The invitational winners - it was tie - were Wade Parsons for Scrat from Ice Age, and Audrey Meyer and Scott Lewis for "Hang in There Kitty." Parsons also won the People's Choice award.

The New Hampshire sanctioned team members and those competing in the Jackson Invitational category teams judge each other.

The event was dedicated, for the second year, to Army Specialist Matthew D. Kemp, who is still recovering from severe wounds he sustained in Afghanistan. Driscoll said he is expected to be released from the hospital soon. His mother and stepfather, Jean and Lu Demello, who are from the Nashua area, competed in the contest in the years prior to Kemp's injuries.

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