Students helping to create a winter wonderland at Lillehammer 2016
Hundreds of students from Lillehammer and its surrounding areas will decorate the Winter YOG 2016 host city with structures of snow and ice, creating a veritable winter wonderland!
Sculpting using snow and ice has long been part of Norwegian artistic tradition. Examples of this phenomenon include “Magic Ice”, two extraordinary attractions located in Oslo and Svolvær, which offer the public an opportunity to experience a wondrous environment sculpted entirely out of the frozen substances, and the annual “Ice Music Festival” in Geilo, where all of the instruments are created from natural ice just a few hours before concerts by artists performing on bells, glockenspiels, cellos, horns and harps.
In February 2016, Lillehammer, and the neighbouring towns of Hamar and Gjøvik, which will also be hosting events during the Winter Youth Olympic Games, will be comprehensively decorated by snow and ice sculptures produced by hundreds of local school pupils. As part of an initiative dubbed “Learn and Freeze”, 240 of them came together a few weeks ago to attend a workshop on creating shapes from gigantic blocks of snow and ice.
Budding architects and engineers took charge of the structural side of things, while those with an interest in design and handicraft dealt with the artistic aspects of the project. At the end of the session, the enthusiastic youths had mastered a completely new skill, expanding their sculpting abilities well beyond the basic snowmen of their childhood.
The participants cannot wait to start adorning Lillehammer and its surrounding areas with their icy and snowy shapes, creating a magical, fairy tale atmosphere in the local roads and parks, and likely attracting the admiration of the young athletes who will arrive from all over the globe in February.
The Learn and Freeze project will not be restricted to the YOG; the stated goal of the organisers is to build on the experience gained from the Games and encourage students to produce similar sculptures for future events earmarked for the region.