Snow has always been an enticing, limitless canvas where virtually any artist can afford to play. Whether children are stacking snow buddies and digging out homemade igloos or craftsmen are carving out detailed creatures, there’s something about snow that sings possibility—and fun! And while these stunning works of art have long since melted, we can still appreciate the photographic evidence that these wonders once existed.
This snow version of Pirates of the Caribbean villain Davy Jones is deliciously terrifying in its accuracy. It was created for the three-day Tokamachi Snow Festival in Japan.
This ornate re-creation of the Quebec landmark should be instantly familiar to Canadians. Although the snow model, created for Harbin in 2007, featured one significant upgrade to the front—slides!
Napoleon on Horseback
Tiny man, huge sculpture! This snow tribute to the controversial French historical figure, presented in 2011 at China’s Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, was definitely not to scale. But it’s still an impressive feat!
Three White Horses
These galloping white horses were created by Team Idaho for the Air Canada Snow Sculpture Challenge in 2009, which is part of the annual Yukon Sourdough International Festival. They were designed as a tribute to Whitehorse, where the event is held.
This massive snow landscape, featuring Russian churches, French cathedrals, Chinese palaces, and an ice acropolis was the centerpiece of the immensely popular Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in China in 2008. At 656-feet long and 115-feet tall, it’s the largest snow sculpture ever built. More than 600 sculptors from 40 different countries toiled together to bring “Romantic Feelings” to life.
No, it’s not the Hogwarts Express, but it is a very cool locomotive! Displayed at Harbin in 2009, this sculpture featured carved-out sections on each side. Visitors could climb inside the wagons and have their picture taken while waving out the window.
In 2004, these dinosaurs were sculpted by thousands of Japanese soldiers from the Self-Defense Forces who volunteer their time every year to make the Sapporo Snow Festival a truly remarkable event. Impressively, these massive snow beasts are considered to be close to scale.
This stunning snow exhibit from the Sapporo Festival in 2009 allowed for fun audience participation. The masks used in traditional lion dances, which are popular throughout Asia, vary depending on the region. This sculpture was carved in such detail that attendees could study the masks and guess their country of origin.
This intricately detailed nature scene received rave reviews at the St. Paul Winter Carnival in Minnesota back in 2009. The branches on the life-size fir trees were painstakingly carved so that each one stood out as an individual.
Old Man Winter
This snow portrait of a kindly old man from the 2007 International Snow Sculpture Competition in Breckenridge, Colorado proves that artists can create true warmth even while working with a cold medium like snow. The depth of character they achieved with this piece earned them first place.
Nike Goddess of Victory
The Whistler Art Council commissioned this striking sculpture of the Greek Goddess Nike from a British Columbia artist in 2006. Nike personifies victory and this piece definitely packs the right amount of strength and drama.
Fairy Tale of the Forest
There are so many amazing aspects to this gorgeous prize-winning showpiece from the 2007 Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. It’s hollowed out, open on three sides, and has a soft, fluid feel to it, yet it’s surprisingly sturdy.
For it’s 25th anniversary in 2009, Tokyo Disneyland created this 50-foot tall snow exhibit for the Sapporo Festival. It featured classic Disney characters and locations and was rigged with a full set of working lights.