Traditions

A Winter Carnival image from 1955. I believe this is Snow White's House. MTU Winter Carnival - Snow Statues, from the Centennial photo collection. (Photo Courtesy of MTU Archives/Keweenaw Digital Archives)

It is Winter Carnival weekend in the Copper Country. Beginning as a single day ice festival in 1922, the carnival has always been a way to foster community and creativity in the middle of a long winter. Over the span of almost 90 years, Michigan Tech University’s Winter Carnival has become a well-loved tradition that takes an entire year to plan. While many events take place during the weekend, such as a queen ceremony, broomball, ice bowling, the human dog sled, and ice fishing to name a few, the most popular event is typically the snow statue competition.

The snow statue competition gathers entries from university groups, fraternities and sororities, residence halls, and off-campus groups for two categories of statue; the month long and the all-nighter. Using tried and true techniques as well as innovative artistic skills, participants attempt to create amazing structures of snow and ice. It is quite a sight to see to walk through campus and down College Avenue in Houghton to witness these incredible structures, either while they are in process or when they are finished products.  Each year the statue competitors are required to create their statue around a specific theme.  This year, the theme is a literary theme, “Thousands of Pages Unfold in the Bitter Cold.”  Statue themes took inspiration from Herman Melville, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling and others.  If you are interested to learn more about Winter Carnival or see photos from Winter Carnival 2011 please check out the carnival homepage on the MTU website.

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