Day One: Tuesday

Things went pretty well today in nicely cold weather (about 20° F.) with light snow. Teams are allowed to work only from 11 am to 5 pm on this day. Later the legal time is 7 am to 11 pm. Finally, after nine years, we have a chain (a sequence of chain saw blades) that works to saw large blocks off. So we sawed off a couple planes, and then moved to drilling some long holes. This was very satisfying as we drill about five feet in from one side and the same from the other with the 4-inch ice-fishing drill, and hope that the holes meet. It is very satisfying when they do! One new item this year is a wood frame we made that fits around the base (see photos below). By marking various points around it, and repeatedly plumbing down from the top, we could quickly identify points in space, adding accuracy to our work and saving the trouble of trying to do it with a tape measure. Very satisfying.

There are 16 teams in all, and some of them are very experienced. We simply have to believe in our sculpture -- which I think is the only piece of abstract art here -- and put in the total effort needed to sculpt it well.

The snow blocks were formed in very cold conditions and that means the snow is quite dry. This makes it easy to work, and also eliminates the ice buildup problem that can occur at the bottom if the block is exposed to warm weather. So we are happy with the block.

Here is the situation at the start: We have four days to turn the giant block into a copy of the small model!

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The team: Rich, Beth, Stan, David, Dan

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The first photo below shows Dan and Stan working the chain to cut off a huge piece. As the saw cuts through the last bit, the force of the falling block rips the saw from the cutters' hands -- see second photo. These photos show the wooden frame around the base well.

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Here is a shot of Rich Seeley doing his customary good photo work for our team. His wife, Beth (left), is the team representative: she can help with various chores, such as snow removal, but cannot sculpt. Photo by Dan Schwalbe.

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