Beauty is fleeting

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Beauty is fleeting

Durangoan wins gold in snow sculpture contest

Beauty is fleeting

Durangoan Keith Martin led Team Breckenridge, which won the gold medal at the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpting Competition at the end of January with this sculpture of a family going tubing. His team beat competitors from as far away as Mongolia and Estonia.
Snow carver Keith Martin said snow sculpting competitions only allow the use of hand tools. He has around 100 tools, about half of which he made himself, and he takes as many as will fit in his carryon or, for road trips, his Jeep.
“I love the idea that it’s all temporary art,” said snow and ice carver Keith Martin, who sculpted a puppy out of snow in about 20 minutes during a recent demonstration at his Durango home. He is fresh off winning the gold medal at a recent international competition in Breckinridge.
Keith Martin’s snow sculpture of a puppy begins to take shape, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Martin’s 6-year-old Great Dane, Dean Martin.
Keith Martin said the tallest snow sculpture he has created was 19 feet tall, with the smallest about 2 feet in height.
Snow sculptor Keith Martin says he has about 100 hand tools for sculpting snow. Martin said he made half of them himself, and almost all of his store-bought tools have been altered in some way to meet his needs.
“The idea is that you process the snow, heat it up, and then pack it into your form as ... best that you can, so you get that really nice, tight snowball feel,” said snow and ice sculptor Keith Martin as he removed the mold from snow he collected at Cascade earlier that morning. Martin and his team just won the gold medal in snow sculpting at the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpting Competition.
Dean Martin, Keith Martin’s 6-year-old Great Dane, watches as Martin demonstrates the art of snow sculpture while creating a puppy recently at his Durango home. Dean didn’t seem too intimidated by the canine interloper.
“If it falls down when it’s in clay, it absolutely won’t hold up in snow,” said snow and ice sculptor Keith Martin. He said his creations always start out as clay models like this one of the puppy he built Wednesday. The models are built to scale to help him and his team visualize the final sculpture.
Keith Martin’s clay model of a puppy was created as an homage to his 6-year-old Great Dane, Dean Martin. Martin used the model as a guide for a snow sculpture.
Snow and ice carver Keith Martin said he started ice carving in culinary school in 1996. Martin said his love of snow carving came later, in 2001, when he moved to Breckenridge and lived across the street from the site of the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpting Competition. He won the gold medal at the competition at the end of January.
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