Creativity takes shape in Jackson snow sculpture contest

Union Leader Correspondent
January 28. 2018 8:54PM

Holderness-based Team Warren, comprised of Paul Warren, his daughter Paige, and Donna Bunnell, pictured, created “New Hampshire River Fun.” It won the NH Sanctioned category. (JOHN KOZIOL/Union Leader Correspondent)

JACKSON — Despite unseasonably high temperatures and rain, an eagle soared and a river flowed Sunday to win the top awards at the 17th annual New Hampshire Sanctioned & Jackson Invitational Snow Sculpting Competition.

A dozen snow-carving teams from the Granite State, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont came to the Black Mountain Resort where they had 36 hours, beginning Friday, to sculpt an award-winning entry.

Holderness-based Team Warren created “New Hampshire River Fun,” which depicts a canoe and paddles propped up against an old tree trunk while a loon swims by on the Pemigewasset, and with it, won the NH Sanctioned category.

By virtue of that win, Team Warren, which is comprised of Paul Warren, his daughter Paige and Donna Bunnell, will travel to Lake Geneva, Wis., in 2019 to represent the state at the national snow carving championships.

Capturing both other awards Sunday was Team Topazio of Tiverton, R.I., which won the Jackson Invitational crown, as well as the “people’s choice” award, with “The Prey,” which shows an eagle with a fish in its talons, both wings swept dramatically back and up.

Given the conditions this past weekend and that he and his sister Jessica had sculpted many eagles before, albeit in sand, Stephen Topazio said they went with what they knew would work best.

“When we came up here we had three designs,” he said, “but the others were a little more involved.”

A retired project manager, Topazio is also a musician, and for the past 15 years, a professional, competitive sand sculptor. He owns and operates Sandtasia, a business that creates sand carvings for a variety of private and corporate customers.

“My office is the beach,” joked Topazio, adding that he now rarely works in snow, but decided to compete in the Jackson Invitational, which he had entered five times previously and won once, because the event sponsor, the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce, and Kathleen Driscoll, who is its executive director, “treat us like rock stars.”

Bunnell, who is a retired teacher, credited Paul Warren for getting her into snow sculpting.

Like Topazio, she said that her team had to come up with a compromise design.

“This wasn’t our original plan,” she said. “We were going to do a large wave with a loon taking off the water,” but the warm weather prevented such a gravity-defying thing.

“There was going to be a raccoon” that poked its head out of the tree stump in “New Hampshire River Fun,” said Bunnell, but it fell victim to Saturday’s rain.

Nonetheless, “this is so cool and so much fun,” said Bunnell. “The people are incredible. I just love their reactions as they walk by.”

Driscoll said the competition continues to grow, this year attracting an estimated record 2,500 people.

TourismOutdoorsWinter FunJackson

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