Snow Days Chicago Celebrates Snow Sculpting at Navy Pier

"Queen of Lake Michigan"

“Queen of Lake Michigan”

It seems like lately my friends who live in South Florida have been posting more photos of palm trees and beaches on Facebook. I’m not sure if it’s meant to brighten my day, but as I’m trudging through slush on yet another frigid morning, all the sunny photos do is make me want to scream.

Trimming the bangs of "Emerging Woman"

Trimming the bangs of “Emerging Woman”

Well, so what if southerners are walking around in shorts, dining al fresco and applying sunscreen right now. There’s one thing they can’t do: build a snowman. 

It’s certainly a benefit of living in a cold climate. The history of building stuff out of snow is a bit sketchy. Wikipedia suggests that “documentation of the first snowman is unclear.” Presumably, a caveman—or cavekid—came up with the idea when drawing on the walls became a bore. I don’t think they had Nintendo.

Nowadays, snow sculpting is a recognized art form. This weekend, a number of snow sculptures were on display at Gateway Park, just west of Navy Pier. Some of the sculptures were amazingly lifelike and intricate. A master class exhibition team offered a live demonstration of the craft of carving on Saturday afternoon with their “Emerging Woman” sculpture. 

The works represented a dozen teams from area high schools. There were also sculptures from 15 professional teams from around the world. I’m guessing the team from Ukraine that created “Mamaj the Cossack” found the chilly Chicago lakefront positively springlike.

Author: Bill Motchan

Bill Motchan is a writer and photographer, and a former resident of the West Loop. He can be reached at

Share This Post On