Even in the midst of a pandemic Alaskans have somehow managed to still celebrate Fur Rondy. This annual festival was originally set to coincide with the arrival of trappers returning from the bush with their furs. Fur Rendezvous or Fur Rondy, as locals call it, captures the spirit of Alaska through a variety of unique events. You can experience everying from the Snow Sculpture Championships to outhouse races, dog sled races and Running with the Reindeer.

Many of the events this year had to be cancelled altogether or adjusted to meet COVID safety guidelines. The Fur Rondy Snow Sculpture Championships though were able to go on with only limited modifications.

Teams register in one of several divisions including: schools, families, individuals, corporations and teams. Each team has an 8x8x8 ft. block of compressed snow and a week to complete their entry. Teams must sculpt by hand without the use of power tools!

We had great fun going to see the works in progress both at the beginning of the week and after the competition ended. My photography is not the best, but I think you can appreciate these before and after shots.

This first one is a solo entry who was part of the team that won the Fur Rondy Snow Sculpture Competition multiple times in the past. His teammates however have since moved on and didn’t participate this year.
This next sculpture is one of my favorites! If you have been following my blog you know that ice fishing is one of the things that drove me to Alaska in the first place.
This one makes me laugh. This is a family entry, but when we went to see it being carved there was just a lone woman there. Her husband was sick and her kids were nowhere to be found. I’m not sure if anyone managed to help her out during the week, but from our perspective this one was carved by a lone intrepid mother. The same type of mom who single handedly does all the Christmas shopping, plans all the birthday parties and takes care of the dog all by herself…. To me, just for sheer grit and determination this one is definitely a winner of the snow sculpture competition.
Here is one more before and after shot…..
My kids favorite…
Finally, I will leave you with a mosaic of the completed sculptures…..

Stay tuned for Fur Rondy 2022! We may just have to enter the family division of the competition…..

About Mary

Mary Stephens holds a degree in international affairs from Georgetown University and a Masters in Teaching from the American University. Mary spent almost twenty years homeschooling her four children and is now navigating post homeschool life in Alaska. She offers personal insights, recipes, homeschooling tips and tricks and travel advice on her website penciltreks.com. Mary also owns Christopher Travel, a luxury travel company specializing in exquisite vacations around the globe.

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