Team McKalfitznaycords won this year’s snow carving competition at Yellowknife’s Snowcastle site with a Deathly Hallows-themed sculpture – despite starting to carve on day five instead of day one.
The competition, organized by Snowbuddy’s Winter Garden (this year’s pandemic-inspired replacement for the Snowcastle and its associated festival), was open only to local teams this year instead of the typical expert international carvers.
Eight teams signed up. Each received eight-foot cubes of snow to carve over 10 days rather than the three days ordinarily afforded to expert carvers.
In second place was Team Tall Taniwha’s sculpture of a Māori sea creature talking to a kayaker. Third place went to Team Jedi’s sculpture, Amongst the Heavens, showing a woman sitting on a moon.
Sarah Kalnay-Watson, a rookie carver and leader of the winning team, explained she and her fellow carvers – winter garden builders Ryan McCord and Byron Fitzky – started later because she was in isolation when the competition began.
“On Tuesday, when we started, we went hardcore with it,” she said. “We’ve put in pretty-much full days, we were normally there from 11am until 2:30 or 3pm.”
Team McKalfitznaycords carved the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows symbol on a pedestal as its centrepiece, then surrounded it with symbols from the series like a lightning bolt, Hedwig the owl, and a golden snitch.
Kalnay-Watson said she and her daughter had read all seven Harry Potter books four times over the past year – and are now on their fifth read-through.
“Basically, it’s the only thing that’s been in my head,” she said. “I was really really happy with how it turned out.”
The team cleaned away snow and ice debris beneath the main sculpture to expose the translucent ice, which she said “made it look really good.”
“I was actually really shocked,” Kalnay-Watson said of the win. “Especially because ours is more along the architectural design, which is different.”