As we gear up for Winter Family Weekend and families start arriving through the iconic Whitney Arch, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the newest (and temporary) addition to campus!
Over the last few weeks, and with occasional student support, one of our valued Facilities employees, Kurtis Klett, has been creating a replica of the Arch built entirely out of snow and ice. The sculpture stands on the lawn between the Chapel of the Good Shepherd and Whipple Hall.
Kurt began his career in snow sculpting in 2007 after the birth of his third child. For the last seven years, he and his team, the MS Krackers, have made it a tradition to participate in the Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Competition, which takes place at Vulcan Snow Park. Kurt was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, and uses each Snow Sculpting Competition to spread awareness, making sure each sculpture “defeats” the disease. This year’s entry as seen on local news channels, “Get Ogre MS,” featured everyone’s favorite green ogre, Shrek, crushing the letters “MS.”
Each contestant begins the competition with an 8’ x 8’ x 8’ block of snow. They make many of their own tools, otherwise using anything they can find. Kurt favors the use of ice tongs, when moving giant blocks of snow, as well as 100-year-old lumberjack saws. He also uses horse combs to give the sculpture a smooth, glassy finish.
Kurt has been working around the clock to finish the new, snowy Arch before everyone arrives for what will surely be a fun-filled Winter Family Weekend. Between conferences, performances, and athletic events, be sure to stop by the Arch snow sculpture while it lasts!