The “Epic” Epitomized in Snow


The “Epic” Epitomized in Snow

~ Samantha Lewis

We speak about “green” a great deal of the time. The newest technology, equipment, wardrobes, organizations, jewelry, recycling companies – you name it, the environmental movement is growing (thankfully) larger and larger by the minute. However, this week the largest wonder of the world, created from one of Mother Nature’s natural substances (that has been slamming the East Coast of the U.S. for what seems like ages), was the brightest white you could possibly imagine.


It is an incredible winter festival that they hold every year in Sapporo, Japan. For one week, people are allowed to view some 030204-N-0365T-001of the most magnificent creations of snow statues and ice sculptures imaginable. This is not a downscaled winter event, by any means. Millions attend every year, each holding their breath in anticipation of what creations are about to be unveiled.


The International Snow Sculpture Contest has been held at the site of Odori Park since 1974, with teams battling for the top prize from all countries across the globe. And the statues presented are about as diverse and thrilling as the globe, itself. From famous locations and buildings being constructed to famous and infamous people – sports stars and celebrities – as well as odes to various popular culture topics – everything astounds and amazes.


For some it will be fun to know that this festival actually began from a normal, everyday happening. In 1950, it was six local high school students building six snow statues in Odori Park that brought this idea to life. And it was in 1955 that Japan Self-Defense Forces from the nearby base actually joined in and built the first massive snow sculptures, for which the Snow Festival has now become famous. In the 21st Century, the Self-Defense Forces participate with gusto; it is now an actual training exercise for the men to create these monstrosities. And over the years they have had to battle against everything from low snowfall to moving locations for the Festival in order to accomplish this unbelievable task.


But this year…the force was strong in Sapporo. There were incredible pieces, but there was one creation that was a complete ode to pop culture that became the talk of the internet. It is no surprise that I am speaking of a Star Wars “Mount Rushmore” depicting Darth Vader, along with his Imperial Stormtroopers, ships in the background, with the Death Star hovering behind them. Darth is not a new choice for the world. After all, Vader was actually given huge status when he was chosen to be placed on the Northwest Tower of our very own Washington National Cathedral.


This ultimate, most well-known figure in movies, and the most familiar villain of them all, has taken center stage at the 66th annual Sapporo Snow Festival. Completed by the Japanese military, visitors and internet viewers call this “Snow Star Wars” sculpture truly epic and is one of the main attractions of the Festival that runs until the 11th of February


There are more than 200 sculptures to be viewed; all created and carved from both snow and ice that are truly mind-boggling. However…when the music began and the villain in black stepped forth onto the stage of snow, protected by his bright, white Stormtroopers, and raised his giant fist in the air, it was as if every child had finally gotten their wish…


“Star Wars” had now become reality.


All we want now is for Luke to appear with his lightsaber, Han to cheer, and Chewie to utter his famous growl so that real evil can be forgotten, and the heroes and bad guys that came from George Lucas’s magical imagination can be remembered.

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