Summit Daily News, monday, January 24, 2000

Terry Talty Associated Press Writer

Team Russia, with their entry 'Stairway to Heaven,' captured first place honors at the International Snow Sculpting Championshiops in Breckenridge. BRECKENRIDGE - Finishing a larger-than-life sculpture is a self-rewarding victory. When the judges awarded Team Russia, Team Minnesota and Team Switzerland the first, second and third places respectively Saturday in the tenth annual International Snow Sculpture Championships, they also won much more than a medal.

"The main award we get from here," said Alexey Sheboldaev of Team Russia, "is from your eyes, your impressions and your admiration." The Russian team defeated 16 other teams from around the world with their piece entitled "Stairway to Heaven." The sculpting, team members say, reflects the human aspiration to achieve the greatest heights despite challenging obstacles.

"It's a beautiful form," John Bruning said about the Minnesota team's sculpture, "Rhapsody in White," designed by teammate Robert Longhurst. "There's a lot of beauty in math and sometimes they (math and sculpture) cross over."

The sculpture is an Enneper surface, said Stan Wagon, mathematics professor from Macalester College and team captain. "If you dipped a hoop in a soap solution, the bubbles would be that form you see today," Bruning, also a math teacher, explained.

Snow fell steadily most of Friday and Saturday. Although they removed any unnecessary snow from the block they wanted, the Minnesota team was kept busy removing what Mother Nature was tossing onto their mathematical shape.

The intricate quality of all the entries caused difficult decisions for the judges. "The judges had a very difficult event... such sophistication in each sculpture. It may be the best of all ten years," said Ron Shelton of Team Breckenridge. "I think we received the right place," said Timo Naf of the Swiss team. He said their collaborative piece was successful because it was "quiet and calm - not hectic."

Canadian Herb Daniels, from Calgary, was fortunate to finish as much of "Trickster Legend" as he did. Midweek, one of Daniels' teammates realized his poor physical condition was High Altitude Pulmonary Edema. The Papa John's Pizza claims information provided by a police report for an article that rah Jan. 14 was inaccurate. Employees said the order was a pickup, not a delivery, and Papa John's admits no fault nor wrongdoing.

design: Malyshev Eugeny