Snow sculptures and constructions in La Chaux de Fonds


Category:
Social practices
Canton:

Description

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 ...

Image gallery

  • Album Schönbucher, 1896-1910 © Musée d’histoire, La Chaux-de-Fonds
  • Stotzer, Fritz: Snow constructions: winter 1906-1907 © Maison d’édition ; Imprimerie Courvoisier, 1907, Bibliothèque de la Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds
  • February 1915 competition, black and white photography © Musée d’histoire, La Chaux-de-Fonds
  • Winter in La Chaux-de-Fonds, snow monuments. La Chaux-de-Fonds: E. Sauser, [ca 1915] © Bibliothèque de la Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds
  • Buddha, 1986, © Christiane Girardet, Musée d’histoire, La Chaux-de-Fonds
  • Hanging on the phone © Christiane Girardet, Musée d’histoire, La Chaux-de-Fonds
  • King of the Place du Bois (La Chaux-de-Fonds, 2015) © Imagineige
  • Come and make a snowman (La Chaux-de-Fonds, 2015) © Imagineige
  • Le Chat (La Chaux-de-Fonds, 2015) © Imagineige
  • Pocket watch (La Chaux-de-Fonds, 2017) © Imagineige
  • Giant Lego (La Chaux-de-Fonds, 2015) © Imagineige
  • Cross country trail groomer (La Chaux-de-Fonds, 2017) © Imagineige

Video

90 secondes insolites : reportage sur l’édition de 2017 © Canal Alpha www.canalalpha.ch

Imagineige sous les flocons : reportage sur l’édition 2017 © BNJ.TV

References and documentation

Publications
  • Fritz Stotzer, Gottfried Moser (photos) : Souvenir d’un hiver rigoureux. La Chaux-de-Fonds, [1907]

  • Musée d’histoire de la Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds : Fonds Constructions de neige, 1906-1986

  • Arcinfo : Requêtes : « chaufour », « construction neige », « sculpture neige », « monument neige », « Imagineige » (http://www.arcinfo.ch/, 16.01.2017)

  • Archives de L’Express et L’Impartial : Requêtes : « chaufour », « construction neige », « sculpture neige », « monument neige », « Imagineige » ; octobre 1738 – juin 2016
    (http://www.lexpressarchives.ch/Olive/APA/
    SwissSNP_Fr/default.aspx#panel=search, 16.01.2017)

  • Bibliothèque de la Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds, Cabinet des arts graphiques : Fonds cartes postales (auteurs A. Schönbucher [circa 1896–1910], E. Perrochet [1906–1908], Houriet [1907], Schneider Frères [1907], Fritz Stotzer [1907], Armand Werner [1907], L. Wespy [circa 1907], E. Sauser [1915–1917], Perrochet et David [1915], Teco [1934], anonyme [1934])

  • Bibliothèque de la Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds, Cabinet des arts graphiques : Fonds Fernand Perret, 1938, 1940, 1950

  • Bibliothèque de la Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds : La Chaux-de- Fonds, 1896-1906. [Album de photographies de] A. Schönbucher

  • Bibliothèque de la Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds : Fonds Charles Robert-Tissot [entre 1901 et 1905]

Documentation