Winter Carnival presents snow masterpieces despite warm weather

HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) -- Winter Carnival has been an annual tradition at Michigan Technological University since 1922. The four-day event, which wrapped up Feb. 11, is packed with activities, including a beard contest, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, curling and a Broomball tournament.

Winter Carnival has been an annual tradition at Michigan Technological University since 1922.

"It's all the students [playing in the tournament]," Michigan Tech. alumnus Alec Sauter said. "It's a mix of hockey, but with just brooms. We cut them up and duct tape them together and they turn into semi-hockey sticks."

And of course, the Winter Carnival crowds come each year to see the famous snow sculptures.

"Oh, it's wonderful to come up," said tourist and Minneapolis resident John Nesser. 'This is a blast."

"It's really cool to see all the sculptures," his son, Arik Nesser, added.

Different student groups, including Greek organizations, dorm halls and academic clubs, build the sculptures, which take months of planning and construction.

"They start right after break, pretty much," fourth-year student Jared Roberts said. "So as soon as we get back, you'll see the frats. Usually they're the ones that start first."

This winter's warm weather caused some mishaps.

"This year, we saw a couple of them topple over, mainly [statues of] people in the halls, the dorms.

First place in the statue contest went to fraternity Phi Kappa Tau, based in Hancock. Their 19th century scene included a saloon, train and clock tower.

But not every group was even able to finish their statues.

"If it gets over a certain temperature or degree, they're not allowed to work on them, so that week that it was warm weather they weren't allowed to work on them," Roberts said. "I think that's why we're seeing not as big and immense statues by all the frats and sororities compared to what you've seen the past."

Some of the statues were still fairly large, towering several stories high. One might say they're masterpieces of the North.

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