Frosty gets a fancy facelift

Imagine spending hours working on a piece of art work, knowing all the while that it is going to be destroyed in a couple of weeks, days or even hours.Michael Nedell and Adrian Tans deal with this knowledge constantly, as they carve intricate sculptures out of snow. However, they don’t mind that their sculptures are doomed to melt.”Assuming that we could afford the amount of marble to make these ridiculous sculptures, what would we do with it?” Tans said. “It would be such a pain in the neck.”Nedell and Tans, along with teammate Brooke Reitveld, have been making snow sculptures for over a decade, competing in regional, national and international competitions.Nedell was inspired to start snow sculpting after seeing snow sculptures on the Burlington waterfront and reading about snow sculpting in Seven Days, Nedell said.He then formed a team with Tans and Reitveld. Without the impracticality of storing permanent sculptures, creating temporary sculptures of snow appeals philosophically to Nedell and Tans as well.”It’s like this artist mentality that you move on,” Tans said. “It’s essential, so it’s really fortunate that it melts.” Time is an element of snow sculpting, not only after the sculpture has been completed, but during competitions as well.”Whatever the time limit is, maybe three or four days, if they let us go all night long, we try to stay,” Nedell said. “It’s really just a battle of when you can get to the point of getting really fine details.”Nedell, Tans and Reitveld have crafted a variety of snow sculptures over the years, finding inspiration in different ways.Sometimes, going to an event and being surrounded by snow sculptures can spark inspiration, Nedell said.Other times, the team sits around and brainstorms.”Eventually someone says something that’s ridiculous,” Tans said. “Someone says, ‘Hey, that’s actually a good idea,’ and we make a model.”In the past, Nedell, Tans and Reitveld have made everything from a politically driven microscope examining an American flag to figures sculpting each other.”We’ve never made the same thing twice,” Nedell said. “There are plenty of ideas out there.”Competing is enjoyable and important to them, Nedell said, but it is also clear that Nedell and Tans snow sculpt just for the joy of it.”Some people like to go deer hunting, some people like to go on fishing trips, we like to go to cold places and make big things out of snow,” Nedell said.Nedell and Tans are in good company as snow sculptors.”Michaelangelo started as a snow sculptor,” Tans said.For Michaelangelo, snow sculpting was a brief endeavor, but Nedell and Tans seem happy to stick with the medium.”As far as a sculpture medium, if it weren’t for the cold, [snow would be perfect],” Nedell said.Nedell and Tans don’t plan to stop snow sculpting anytime soon.”When hell freezes over, we’ll be there sculpting,” Tans said.Nedell and Tans, along with Reitveld, competed in the 2010 U.S. Nationals Snow Sculpting Competition in Wisconsin Feb. 3- 6.