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Sculpting in snow: Local high school students create snow sculptures during Polar Fest

Six snow sculptures will decorate City Park for the remainder of Polar Fest 2022 thanks to the creative work of high school students from Detroit Lakes and Lake Park-Audubon on Feb. 16.

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Detroit Lakes High School students put the finishing touches on their snow sculpture, Brain Freeze, during a Polar Fest 2022 student snow sculpting event at City Park in Detroit Lakes on Feb. 16, 2022. Brain Freeze won first place out of six entries in the student event.
(Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

Six teams of local high schoolers carved sculptures from blocks of snow in Detroit Lakes City Park on Wednesday as part of a Polar Fest 2022 event.

The sculptures made by students of Detroit Lakes and Lake Park-Audubon High Schools will be on display in the park throughout the rest of Polar Fest, which concludes on Feb. 27.

Claire Danner, art teacher at Detroit Lakes High School, said the student teams created miniature versions of their sculptures using oil clay in the weeks leading up to the actual sculpting, and believes the whole process gave the students a better understanding of the process of a sculpture project from inception to completion.

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Hailey Albright, sophomore, chips away at her group's snow sculpture, Frosty in a Fridge, during a Polar Fest 2022 student snow sculpting event at City Park in Detroit Lakes on Feb. 16, 2022.
(Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
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Detroit Lakes High School students brush loose snow away from their snow sculpture, A Tortoise and Penguin, during a Polar Fest 2022 student snow sculpting event at City Park in Detroit Lakes on Feb. 16, 2022.
(Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

"I'm impressed with how creative they were in their designs," said Danner. "They grouped up, came up with a theme, sketched out their ideas, built their little models and now we're here."

She also said she believes the students found out how difficult it can be to actually sculpt snow.

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"If there is a mistake, it's hard to attach it back on, and it's a medium that they haven't used before," said Danner.

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Maria Foltz, junior, carves scales into her team's snow sculpture, Serpent Dragon, during a Polar Fest 2022 student snow sculpting event at City Park in Detroit Lakes on Feb. 16, 2022.
(Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
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Jacy Eckhoff, senior, hollows loose snow out of the eye of her team's snow sculpture, Brain Freeze, during a Polar Fest 2022 student snow sculpting event at City Park in Detroit Lakes on Feb. 16, 2022. Brain Freeze won 1st place of the six student teams for the event.
(Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

The solid snow block carving began at 8:30 a.m. and continued until 2 p.m., with the students using a variety of tools and techniques to bring their artistic creations to life.

"It's really exciting because families love to come down and see the sculptures and my students get really proud to see their ideas come to life," she said.

First prize out of the six entries went to a group of Detroit Lakes students for their sculpture, Brain Freeze, and were awarded a commemorative shovel.

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Lake Park-Audubon students clear away snow from their snow sculpture, Monolith, during a Polar Fest 2022 student snow sculpting event at City Park in Detroit Lakes on Feb. 16, 2022.
(Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

Kacy Schiltz, a Detroit Lakes senior, said building the miniature model was different than the actual sculpting because, with the model, material is added to create the shape and, with the sculpture, material is being taken away, which is the opposite of building a model.

"We knew how it was going to turn out, but we didn't really know how to get there," said Schiltz. "So far, we've been pretty good at not losing anything. We did lose an arm, but we figured out how to fix it."

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Detroit Lakes High School students grind away loose snow from their snow sculpture, Serpent Dragon, during a Polar Fest 2022 student snow sculpting event at City Park in Detroit Lakes on Feb. 16, 2022.
(Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
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Lake Park-Audubon student clear loose snow out of the base of their snow sculpture, Cactus, during a Polar Fest 2022 student snow sculpting event at City Park in Detroit Lakes on Feb. 16, 2022.
(Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

Schiltz added that one person could not have made their whole sculpture, and it did take a whole team to make their piece. She also said her team thought the whole process went better than they could've ever envisioned.

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Students from Detroit Lakes High School and Lake Park-Audubon High School carve snow sculptures during a Polar Fest 2022 student snow sculpting event at City Park in Detroit Lakes on Feb. 16, 2022.
(Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

Lead Multimedia Reporter for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus.
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