LIHUE- Team Hawaii is heading to the 48th International Snow Sculpture Contest, which will be held on February 4th through the 11th at the 72nd Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan.
Team Hawaii consists of a three-man team from two different islands: Captain Dale Radomski, and Norimitsu Wada-Goode are from Oahu and Charlie Matsuda from Kauai.
Between the three of them, they have been doing this for a total of 18 years this February. The team points to Radomski as their captain, though all work at hotels as professional ice carvers.
“This contest is a prestigious one and teams can only compete by personal invites. This year, we are kicking off the Snow Festival and starting it where it all began in Sapporo, Japan,” said team captain Dale Radomski.
Last year, Thailand took first place in the contest with their “Betta Brilliance — The Beauty and Strength of Thailand”. In second place was Macao, China with their “Sharing Prosperity,” third place was China, with their “Perfect World”.
Team Hawaii didn’t place in the top five but they did win the People’s Choice Award. The crowds loved their creativity and Hawaiian style sculptures.
In 2019, they chiseled their frozen blocks of snow into a Hawaii theme consist of waves, hula dancers, canoes, sharks and turtles.
This year they’re inspired by the goddess Pele.
“This is my 9th tour with Team Hawaii, and this time it’s even more special. A lot of inspiration comes from current events in Hawaii. Our new piece called “Pele raises from Fire,” is inspired by what’s happening to the Big Island. But it would be too political if we did something on the TMT, so we chose to do it on Pele, said Matsuda.
According to Matsuda, this is by far the most emotional competition that has transpired because he lost his father over Thanksgiving. Matsuda said he is grateful for his team’s support during the time of loss.
“I will do my best for my team, its like a brotherhood. This carving will be tributed to my father Charlie Kazuo Matsuda, he was our biggest fan. It’s not easy losing someone you love.”
With three weeks left to go, the team is modifying their designs. “It’s exciting, we always pull together and we will give it our best. We are still going back and forth on the final design, ” said Matsuda.
Millions are expected to travel to Sapporo Snow Festival to experience this commercialized event which once was inspired by high school students who built creative snow sculptures in Odori Park back in 1950.