Once we paid our admission and passed through the front gate, there were snow sculptures at almost every turn (and even as part of every turn if you wandered into the snow labyrinth -- which was more fun in concept than implimentation.)
I took this shot standing over near the venue for the mascot olympics, looking back toward the fort. To the left of the fort you can see a number of snow sculptures in progress. We saw teams from Finland and Denmark, and another sculpture had a little sign in front identifying it as "Team Minnesota" It may be worth a follow-up trip back later in the festival to see the final products before they are destroyed by weather. Apparently there are teams in from as far away as Singapore represented in this sculpting event.
Here is an example of one of the random snow sculptures strewn about the festival grounds. This one is surrounded by people who have shown up to catch the mascot olympics.
Here come the snow dogs. wolever, bloofoxtales and another one of our local fursuiters added some class to the crowd of corporate mascots who made a showing for this event. Not all of the corporate mascots were bad, but come on... they were competing against a guy dressed as liquid fertilizer.
It puts the bannock on the spoon. Ordinarily trivial things suddenly become a challenge when you are dressed in layers of padding, with big floppy hands. In this race they simply had to run while balancing a ball of bannock in an oversized wooden spoon. Sounds easy, right? There were falls. Here is a jar of mustard struggling to get the bannock into the spoon.
atara and I both liked the Manitoba Hydro mascot. He may not have sported the fanciest seamwork, but it was a cute suit.
Another simple task: tote the bale from one side of the course to the other, put it down, jump over it, and then run back with it. Here is bloofoxtales taking an early lead. She would have won this race if she hadn't taken a spill on the turn back, and even then she only lost by a tail. If I remember right, it was the jar of mustard who won this one.
kfops nabbed my camera long enough to get this shot of me and atara posing in front of a snow carving of Louis Riel. Louis is looking very smug IMO - probably because tomorrow will be the first instance of the holiday bearing his namesake.
The afternoon started off fairly pleasant, but the temperature continued to drop as the afternoon progressed. Here you can see the horses steaming after doing a circuit with the wagon. We took a wagon ride, and in spite of the blanket wrapped around our knees, I nearly froze off some vital bits.
The secret to making a snow sculpture is to scrape away everything that doesn't look like the final sculpture.
The beauty of sculpting snow is that if you make a mistake you can just fill it in again with more snow. Here is one sculpter who I caught shoving handfuls of snow into a presumed mis-cut.
Most of the sculptures were fairly mundane things, but a few could only be classed as enigmatic. Not bad, mind you, but definitely strange. It's not every day you see an elephant in a teapot.
While I was on top of the fort wall I spied atara and dronon coming out of one of the living museums. If dronon looks a little wary, it is because he was guarding a scandalously large quantity of bison meat in those bags that he was carrying.
Kids seem to be immune to cold. By time time I took this shot, the temperature had plunged at least 10 degrees since we had got there, the sun had gone behind clouds, and the wind had picked up. This young lad didn't seem to notice at all as he romped and rolled around in the snow.
This guy had the right idea. There were firepits set up all around the festival site. They were welcome refuge from the (at times) biting cold.
Ever since I heard about it in those NFB films I saw in school as a kid, I have always wanted to try fresh maple syrup poured into snow. We decided that this would make a good end to our day. Here an old voyageur pours the syrup into freshly brushed snow.
Once it cooled, we rolled it up into a drippy, sticky, delicious mess. My day just wouldn't have been complete without cramming 1/4 cup of caramelized maple down my throat. It was yummy. =9