Day 1 (Tuesday -- Facing the 20-ton block)

We are on our way. We put in six hard hours today moving several tons of snow. It always seems to start so slowly, but the drills and ice-fishing saw do their job and by 5 pm we had several large pieces cut from the block. Tomorrow, Wednesday, we will move closer to the sculpture, and then Thursday and Friday are when all the fine detail work is done.

We have a reputation in the community after so many years of always trying to push the envelope. Well, we did have one "fatality" in 2003 -- this terminology from the Swiss team, who suffered a fatality (in their sculpture) here in 2002. But we seem to have a good design and now we need only execute it without flaws. We have the southernmost block of the 14, which is quite nice for us, given the orientation of the piece. All photos by Richard Seeley (team member) unless marked otherwise.

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The block is huge and we always start by measuring various critical points. This year the snow was manufactured on a day when the temperatures were 16 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, and this means that the block is drier than usual. Does it also mean it is less strong?

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We are the only team to make extensive use of ice-fishing augers. We drill a sequence of holes and try to separate the block from the mass. Here Dan Schwalbe kicks off several hundred pounds of snow. The ceramic model is at right. And below Stan and Dan kick off a really huge block. Note the blue ice saw, yet one more ice-fishing tool that serves us well.

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