Snow construction competitions in La Chaux de Fonds, which were revived in 1986 and again in 2015 with sponsorship from the newspaper ‘L’Impartial’, have been held since the beginning of the 20th century. Among the oldest competitions, those of the winters 1906-1907, 1914-1915 and 1933-1934 were widely documented, while the events received less publicity after the war.
The competitions are now organised by the three-member ‘Imagineige’ association entirely on a voluntary basis, in a friendly and festive manner and in a spirit of sharing. Participants in the competition create all sorts of figurative and abstract sculptures, since they are entirely free in their choice of subject. The only restrictions are that there is no work from midnight to 6am; no paint or dyeing; and no motorised tools. By the sweat of their brows, participants must create the sculptures from piles of snow provided free of charge by the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds. The deadline for creating the snow sculptures is noon on the Sunday.
A jury then wanders through the town and assesses the sculptures. A prize is awarded to each team according to different criteria: fitting in with the landscape, technical difficulty, choice of subject, people’s choice, etc. Prizes are donated to the competition by local businesses.
Over the weekend, the town’s residents enjoy strolling through the streets to visit the various sculpture sites and admire the works in progress, sharing many happy moments together. The sculputures are then left as they are until nature takes it course ...