The “Alaska Stories” snow sculpture by Team USA Alaska from Skagway looms over the crowd in Breckinridge, Colo. Below, Donald Watt of the second place Yukon team poses next to the back side of Skagway’s sculpture which depicts the unlucky man in Jack London’s story, “To Build A Fire”. The Skagway team (pictured above) modeled the man after Watt for his 60th birthday, right down to the long moustache and eye glasses. See more photos on the News website next week. Above left, a rabbit emerges from the pages.

Crowd pleaser, but no awards from Breck this year

Story by Jeff Brady • Photos by Bruce Schlinder

Team Alaska from Skagway did not collect any awards at this year’s Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckinridge, Colo., but their Jack London-inspired book of “Alaska Stories” was in the running for People’s Choice.
They lost that award to their friends from Team Canada Yukon, whose sculpture “Spirits of the Aurora” took second place overall and also won Artist’s Choice. The top award went to Team Mexico’s “Alebrije” which depicted three mythological beings of Mexican culture.
Bruce Schindler of the Skagway team said the competition was tough this year. He said they missed the Artist’s Choice award by about 30 votes. The Skagway team had won the Kids Choice award the past two years, but this year a local team from Breckinridge took that honor.
“We didn’t win but it was a really good time and we had great people to work with,” he said. “Breck makes sure we have a great time.”
He added that they have been told they will be invited back.
“We are a good crowd pleaser,” Schindler said, noting that the Jack London book with characters from the stories “To Build a Fire” and “White Fang” bursting from its covers, drew some great comments,
“The best one came from a father who told his son, ‘You see that wolf – when we get home I’m going to read you a story about that wolf.’ ”
This year’s competition drew more media attention than in the past. There were documentary crews from PBS and the Do It Yourself network, in addition to an NBC crew from Denver led by former Skagway resident Stan Bush. Before the event, the Alaska team was mentioned in Parade Magazine’s Jan. 23 “Intelligence Report”.
The sculptures were completed after five days of carving at the end of January, and were on display through last week. They can be viewed at www.gobreck.com/events or www.townofbreckinridge.com . The Skagway team included local residents Schindler, Peter Lucchetti and Ken Graham, along with Doug Lucchetti and Cary Retlin.
The team will be carving in Whitehorse this month for the Sourdough Rendezvous.

Above, Doug Lucchettii finishes up the lettering for "White Fang", the second place Yukon sculpture depicting the northern lights, a full view of the hapless man trying to build his fire under a tree, and Pete Lucchetti is interviewed by a PBS crew.