The idea for Tromsø to have its own snow festival was conceived a few years ago, and then brought into existence by Thai Tromsø Association. This year, it took place for the second time, in what is hopefully the start of a new tradition.
Text: Elinor Tessin
For three days, this year’s teams, who are visiting from nine different countries, worked tirelessly to carve their own visions into reality from a big chunk of snow. The results are on display on Stortorget, and while it is unlikely for spring to come anytime soon, you should still go see the sculptures as soon as you can.
I had the opportunity to talk to Elena Gianesin, the festival manager, on the day of the opening ceremony and asked her a few questions!
Utropia: Hei Elena! Which one is your favorite sculpture this year?
Elena Gianesin: Well, I’m Italian, and I really love the Italian sculpture – but they’re all beautiful, and you can see the effort put into them.
Utropia: How do you find the artists for the festival?
Elena: For the first festival, the Thai Tromsø Association tried to contact participants from other contests. This time, we prepared a website with an online application. We accept one team per country.
Utropia: Do you have a certain theme for the sculptures?
Elena: No, it’s a free theme, so they can decide what they want to create. It’s actually a surprise, you never know until the last day!
Utropia: I was here on Wednesday, when the teams had just started working, and it’s very impressive to see the progression.
Elena: Yes, they worked really hard, actually non-stop! Yesterday, some teams stayed until around midnight and even later. In the beginning, it was a little too warm and the snow started melting, so a lot of work had to be redone. But then the weather got cold again.
Utropia: It really looks like a lot of work! Are the artists all professional or is it more of a hobby for some of them?
Elena: Most are professionals, and the others has art-related occupations.
Utropia: How long does it take to organize the whole festival?
Elena: The Thai Tromsø Association started organizing in May, so it took almost a year. You have to find the sculptors, the sponsors and resolve a lot of details.
Utropia: And do you plan to repeat the festival?
Elena: The association wants to create a new tradition for Tromsø, so they plan to go on with the festival – maybe not next year, but the year after. We hope to get more teams also from outside Europe.
Utropia: How long do you think the sculptures will last?
Elena: It depends on the weather, and also on the people who come here – a lot of children play with the sculptures. But I think they will stay like this at least for a few days.
Utropia: Thank you for your time!