Kamloops artists carve a niche in snow

Trio brings home silver medal from competition in Quebec

Sylvie Paillard / Kamloops Daily News
February 7, 2013 01:00 AM

Kamloops snow carving team member Serina Townsley, interpreter Marc Desgagnes, captain Knut Lie and member Heather Blomgren celebrate their second place win in the Carnaval de Quebec snow carving contest on Sunday.

A group of Kamloops sculptors is bringing home some serious bragging rights from a national snow-carving competition this week.

The trio travelled to the world famous Carnaval de Quebec in that province's capital on Friday.

After battling five other provincial teams over two days, Kamloops team captain Knut Lie and his crew, Serina Townsley and Heather Blomgren, took home the silver.

The gruelling task of carving an eight-metre wide by 12-metre high block of snow had to be completed in 48 hours, said Townsley, a Thompson Rivers University visual arts graduate who describes herself now as a full-time mom.

It took them 33 hours.

"We stayed up 24 hours the last night. It was a lot of carving," said Townsley.

"I was lucky to have two such wonderful, hardworking and beautiful women to work with," said Lie, who carves for a living.

The team earned a spot and sponsorship to the national competition by winning a snow-carving contest in Silverstar last February.

It was only Townsley's second time carving snow and it was Blomgren's first time since she replaced a Silverstar teammate who couldn't make it to Quebec.

This year's winning creation, called Spirit of the West, was a massive horse with a rider each acting as stand-ins for nature and human civilization.

The sculptors were inspired by their hometown's surroundings as well as Blomgren's day job as proprietor of Johvale HorseTrials in Pritchard.

"The horse representing nature strives to throw the rider who hangs on to try and tame the beast," states the team entry write-up. "Coming from the western town of Kamloops the horse is an image that our team identifies with very closely."

First place went to the Yukon team, which took home $1,000. Second place didn't come with a cash prize but it carried some perks nonetheless.

"Meeting all the wonderful people - both the national and international teams - we made some wonderful new friends," said Blomgren. "And we had a few days to spend in Quebec City, which is an amazingly beautiful city."

The top honours could also lead to further sponsorship and maybe even international competition, which is a prospect Townsley relishes.

"I think we were all pretty excited," she said. "If we got sponsored, we'd definitely do it again."

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