Within three weeks, the largest snow sculpture in the world is been buildt in the beautiful nature arena of the Upper Engadine.
From the early days of the icy bob run from St. Moritz to Celerina until the early eighties, the responsibility of the construction was in the hands of the local family Angelini, who has been building the track for three generations. In 1985 Louis Prantl took over the responsibility. Until in 1990 he was replaced by Christian Brantschen from Celerina, who is still responsible for the construction with his building company Brantschen AG today.
Although for the more than 100 years of building the track many things have changed, the principles still remain the same. The construction of the track requires a lot of experience and sense of proportion. Today's workers naturally benefit from the technical development. Thus a traxcavator helps them gathering and piling snow during the construction phase. If needed, snow transport is also easier to accomplish with trucks as it has been in the beginning.
Every mid-November the track management anxiously starts waiting for the first snow - The building material for the Olympia Bob Run St. Moritz-Celerina. For in the last week of November the South Tyrolean track workers arrive to build the largest snow sculpture of the world within following three weeks. About 5000m3 snow and 4000m3 water is needed. Every year, the track is built from scratch. And although every curve in the ground is leveled out exactly, there are minimal changes in the alignment every year.
The procedure during the construction phase is aligned exactly. The construction begins at the exit of the Sunny Corner. The construction crew partly reminds of a worm while building the track from the snow lying about. They operate in direction of motion to the Horse Shoe, on through the woods to the Bridge, then down to Martineau and up to the Portago until finally the finishing exit is reached. Finally, the distance from the Start to the Sunny Corner is been build uniting the track to one peace.
However, the desired course of action can be affected by high temperatures or lack of snow. In this case, flexibility is demanded from the construction crew as well as the track management. Then sections, that do not have to be build high and therefore only require little snow - such as the Start and Finish area - have to be preferred to other sections. Actually, this change of the construction schedule equates to the hope of better conditions, allowing the other sections to be constructed.
After the shell of the track is complete, the construction team splits. From then on every track worker is assigned to a certain section and is responsible for its finalisation and constant maintenance process . The daily repair work is carried out mainly in the afternoon and lasts for up to 4 hours per section. During the operation times every track worker is part of the security concept in his section.
After the last bob of the season arrives in the finish, the take-down work begins immediately. The protective awnings will be removed and thus the track will be let go to decay. In the strengthening March sun of the Engadine the ice sculpture melts slowly away. After the final clean-up of the track area by mid-June, there is "almost" nothing more to be seen reminding of the winterly hustle and bustle!
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