World Snow Festival, Grindelwald 

 

The World Snow Festival was first held in 1983, when a Japanese artist carved a huge Heidi figure from snow. Since then it has developed into a fascinating and popular event on the winter calendar of Grindelwald, Switzerland’s world-famous ski resort. During six days in January, teams of artists from all over the world carve sculptures from metre-high blocks of snow set on the open-air ice rink in the village centre. No other materials may be used other than snow, water and ice. The sculptures, each on a specific theme, slowly emerge over the days of preparation. Finally, with much celebration, an expert jury judges the colossal yet transient works of art on the basis of conformity with the theme, originality and execution. Visitors also have their say and so the artists not only know what the experts think but also what pleases the public. The World Snow Festival has another aspect: great emphasis is placed on the social side of things between the teams, with joint excursions, exchange of experiences and a traditional fondue evening followed by a sledging session. 

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