Frozen in Fear: Tech Heats Up for Winter Carnival

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

Snow has never been this scary.

Student groups at Michigan Technological University have been plotting since July to build the creepiest statues ever for Winter Carnival, bringing life to the theme "Frightful Creatures with Chilling Features."

The Winter Carnival recess begins officially on Wednesday, Feb. 6, the start of the All Nighter. Students work through the night, until 8 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, in a frenzyof snow-statue building. Organizations entered in the month-long statue competition will complete masterworks begun in early January, while groups entered in the one-nighter competition will spend 10 freezing hours building their snow statues from the ground up.

Judging follows Thursday morning. Throughout the weekend, thousands of visitors will wander through campus in utter amazement at what can be created by students who seem immune to the effects of sub-freezing weather.

Blue Key Honor Society organizes the event and selects a different theme every year. Some expressed concern that in 2008 frightful creatures might scare the very young, but Blue Key president John Aho, a senior from Rochester, Minn., studying actuarial science and bioinformatics, said the horror factor was probably overrated. "It's really hard to make a disembodied snow statue," he notes wryly.

Winter Carnival offers a variety of other events, many of them located comfortably inside. The Queens Coronation will be held at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Rozsa Center. The eight finalists who have completed the initial interview phase will perform the talent portion of the competition, and judges will announce the winner. The finalists include Caly Bodeis, sponsored by Alpha Gamma Delta; Crystal Buchanen, I-House and Tree House; Kristy Loomis, West Wadsworth Hall; Mairi Smith-Risk, Circle K; Elise Vertin, International Club; and Dana Volk, St. Albert the Great University Parish. Admission is $10.

Two Stage Revues are held Thursday, Feb. 7, at 5 and 9 p.m. in the Rozsa Center. Fraternities, sororities and other campus organizations present skits that can push the limits of college humor. Shows—especially the 9 p.m. Stage Revue—are recommended for adults only. Tickets are $10.

During the Beards Contest, set for 1 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 7, in room 135 of Fisher Hall, male students will be judged in various categories based on the facial hair they have nurtured since December.

During the Banner Contest, at 2 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 7, in the MacInnes Student Ice Arena, students display 6-by-8-foot banners that are judged on how well they promote Winter Carnival.

Carnival also features ice bowling, broomball, human dogsled races, skiing "and other fun, wintry events," Aho said. The public is invited to stop by and enjoy the fun.

At the Winter Carnival ice fishing derby, competitors brave early hours—it starts at 8 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 2—and cold out on Chassell Bay in search of the biggest northern pike or walleye. The competition is divided into two categories, individual and team effort, and is judged based on the weight of the fish caught. Participants pay a registration fee that becomes prize money. The fish must be alive when weighed, or else they will not be considered for scoring.

Winter Carnival broomball, a street version of ice hockey that students take quite seriously, is held at Dee Stadium, in Houghton, at 10:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 30; 9:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 31; and 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 5.

The human dogsled races are set for 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at the practice fields near the Student Development Complex.

Curling competitions are scheduled at the Calumet Armory at 6 p.m., Friday, Feb. 1; 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 2; and 8 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 3.

Ice bowling, featuring students as the bowling balls, is set for 10:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 30; 9:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 31; and 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 5. All games are in Dee Stadium.

Skating races will be held at 8 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 2, in Dee Stadium. Cross-country ski races are held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Michigan Tech Trails, and snowshoeing is set for 11 a.m., Friday, Feb. 8, in the practice fields near the Student Development Complex.

Snow volleyball games are set for 10 a.m., Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Friday, Feb. 2-3, 5 and 8, in the SDC practice fields.

On Friday, Feb. 8, downhill skiing will be held at 12:30 p.m. at Mont Ripley, followed by snowboarding at 3:30 p.m.

The Tug-o-War is set for 11 a.m., Friday, Feb. 8, at the SDC practice fields.

Winter Carnival winds up on Saturday, Feb. 9. During the awards ceremony, at 3 p.m in Memorial Union Ballroom A, the student organizations earning the most points in carnival competitions will be honored.

At 8:30 p.m., the Torchlight Parade of skiers will light the slopes of Mont Ripley, followed by the fireworks display at 8:45 p.m.

The free Snowball Dance begins at 9 a.m. in the Memorial Union, with a disc jockey in the Keweenaw Commons and a jazz band playing in the ballroom.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.