One small step for mankind....

One small step for mankind....

You guessed, didn’t you?  Show of hands, please!  How many of you guessed that yesterday’s outdoor adventure was the Winter Carnival 2009 at Michigan Technological University up in Houghton?

You probably didn’t know the theme this year:  “A Frigid Place Gets a Blast from Space.”  Yes, this is a frigid place.  As for the blast from space, you will have to decide…..

Back in 1922 the carnival first started.  Any of you alive back then may still recall the festivities.  However it wasn’t until ’27 that events expanded to resemble today’s carnival.  The students, fraternities and sororities begin building the snow statues weeks before (there are some constructed the night before, although these one-nighters don’t get dozens of photographers snapping pictures in most cases as they’re not as elaborate and magnificent). 

We’ve lived here maybe 30 years and only really seriously examined the statues once or twice before.  In my memory as of yesterday afternoon, we had never done it.  However, my husband teased out a memory of at least one event years ago when we meandered among the statues, oohing and ahhhing.  I guess I believe him.

Would you like something to eat at the "Galaxy Grill"?

Would you like something to eat at the "Galaxy Grill"?

Barry and I cut across campus near the library and attempted to view many of the statues.  We never found the first place winner, unfortunately, so you can’t view that particular sculpture.  It is amazing how the students craft these statues!  I really have no idea how they technically do it (many of them are studying engineering) so let’s find some links.  Here’s what Wikipedia says:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_sculpture  or how about this Michigan Tech website:  http://www.mtu.edu/carnival/index.php?

An errant thermometer announced it was 64 degrees mid-campus, but no one believed it, as the statues wouldn’t still be frozen in that heat.  Instead it was probably in the 20’s.  (I would LOVE to be sharing today’s temperature & story with you….it hit 40 degrees, hurray! but we’re still covering yesterday, so please be patient.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you about today and we’ll get caught up on outdoor adventures….)

Hop aboard that dune buggy or car, why don't you?

Hop aboard that dune buggy or car, why don't you?

After dinner, when the world darkened and the lights illuminated the statues, we tried to capture some evening images for you.  Not very much luck.  The statue we tried to spotlight featured no lights.  We were tired and ready to head back to L’Anse.  I was sipping a hazelnut latte and enjoying it mightily.  However, we did discover a couple final shots.  First, a group of students were playing broomball.

This is a tradition up at Tech, making it impossible to find good brooms during the winter at the hardware store.  (although, come to think of it, maybe there’s MORE brooms than one would need….)  The kids play this game sort of like hockey, except they wear no skates and sort of scurry around a rink attempting to knock a ball into a goal.  I was too busy attempting to snap pictures to figure it out, so please return to Wikipedia to study up on the sport:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broomball

Exciting broomball action!

Exciting broomball action!

One last photo for the evening.  It’s my favorite.  I know, it’s a little weird.  But I am learning to love photography and viewing things at strange angles.  We parked our car up in a student lot and walked down snow steps behind a statue.  There, behind an ice window, were two perfectly formed “ice hands”.  We probably weren’t suppose to be behind there, as most of the statues are roped off.  But no signs warned us away, so I crept close and snapped the following picture:

Carefully sculpted ice hands

Carefully sculpted ice hands

Waving at you!  Thanks for coming along to Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival with us!

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