Snow-building contest a snow-tastic success

By: Autumn Fehr

Nothing says Winnipeg like competing in a snow sculpture contest in frigid temperatures or the dead of winter.

At the beginning of February, Red River College Polytechnic announced Snow Me the Money!, a snow-building contest where teams of classmates, colleagues, and co-workers came together to win a $1,000 cash prize.

The contest was simple: assemble a team and register the group by Feb. 10. Then, build a fabulous snow sculpture. 

There was no limit on the number of members per team, and participants could also sign-up individually. 

By Feb. 16 at noon, teams had to submit their entry to Taryn Michie, development officer for donor and stakeholder relations at RRC Polytech.

The judge, Maria den Oudsten, founder of the Sweet Sorrow Snowman Foundation and strong advocate for climate change issues, has conducted similar competitions for years. 

Pam Simmons, the social media support member of the wider, Last Snowman/Person Winnipeg Contest, said Oudsten has a warm heart for RRC Polytech.

“She wanted more student involvement and more young people to embrace the whole concept of being concerned about climate change,” said Simmons on behalf of Oudsten. 

In 2019, Oudsten, and her husband, Jan den Oudsten, made a $1.5 million-donation and officially renamed the College’s Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre to the Jan den Oudsten Vehicle Technology & Research Centre (VTRC).

This year, Oudsten created a separate contest for RRC Polytech.

Oudsten was quite pleased with the enthusiasm and how they embraced the contest when it came down to choosing the winner, Simmons said.

The College aimed to create a welcoming “snow village” along Route 90 in front of the VTRC. 

With 28 teams, there was no lack of enthusiasm from RRC Polytech participants, and their creativity showed through the variety of sculptures they created.

Team Snowcanics won the contest for the most creative, elaborate, and impressive design, winning the cash prize of $1,000. The team was made up of 17 students and their instructor, Shelby Livetsky, from the Heavy-Duty Mechanic Certificate Program.

Team Snowcanics won RRC Polytech’s snowbuilding contest on Friday, Feb. 17. Captain of the team and instructor of the heavy equipment mechanic program, Shelby Livetsky said the win was unexpected. (Shelby Livetsky)

“We were very excited and surprised to win the contest… I kept telling my students, if nothing else, if we don’t win, at least we had a great time and some hot chocolate,” said Livetsky in an email.

At first, hearing about the contest, Livetsky said she wanted to do a team-building exercise with her class while having fun outside the classroom.

Livetsky also used this contest as an opportunity to share the Canadian environment and the activity of snow-building with her international students. 

“A few of my students were experiencing their first winter in Canada. So, this was an excellent opportunity to share a part of our culture with them,” said Livetsky in an email. 

The contest’s runner-up was Team Munsters, a group of 15 students from Auto Mechanics class, with their captain, instructor Chase Munsters. 

Munsters said he registered because he thought it would be an excellent team-building exercise for his class and a way to break from the classroom. 

Even though it wasn’t about winning for the group, Munsters said it was rewarding and a good morale booster for the students. 

As for the winners of the contest, they’ve got other plans. 

The class has decided to use the money for an end-of-the-year party to celebrate the program’s completion.