You know that stereotype of the kilted beach guy? Laying back in the sunset on a beach chair, straw hat, flip flops, mirrored sunglasses, puka shell necklace and an iPod full of Jimmy Buffet and Kenny Chesney songs? He’s got a bottle of Corona in his sun-bronzed hand and a utility kilt all powdery with salt and sand? You know that guy? Okay, this is totally not about that guy. This is about pretty much the exact opposite of that guy. Except for the kilt part. This is a story about kilts, and snow, and weasels. Yes, I said weasels. Kilted Snow Weasels to be precise.
The Kilted Snow Weasels are a snow sculpting team based in Rockford, Illinois made up of members of “Clan McWeasel.” Angus McWeasel, Fergus McWeasel, Shamus McWeasel and Grunt McWeasel have, in one form or fashion, been snow sculpting for 21 years all over the Midwest. They are four-time Illinois State Champions and have placed as high as third place at the US National Snow Sculpting Competition.
“We started out as just the ‘Snow Weasels,” says Angus. “We were one of the first two teams at the Illinois State Competition to take on a team persona. It was us and our arch-rivals the Vikings in Black. The Vikings in Black had a strong Swedish influence, so we decided to step things up and bring in the kilts. All of us are a wee-bit Scottish and had kilts already, so it just made sense.”
The Kilted Snow Weasels were recently invited to carve against teams from all over the world at this year’s Whitehorse International Snow Sculpting Challenge held in Canada February 23 – 29. It is one of the largest and most prestigious snow-carving events in the world. Unfortunately, the logistics of getting the team and equipment to Canada has left the Weasels a bit strapped for funds. “The event is covering most of the travel expenses,” says Angus, “but we had to get passports and must cover one of our tickets. We also have to ship some of our bigger tools to Canada and cover our own meals for the trip.”
With all of the Canadian Competition expenses and the additional travel expenses needed to get to the US Nationals in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the Kilted Snow Weasels decided to start a GoFundMe campaign to ensure they can attend the Sculpting Challenge. “Our normal sponsor budget has been eaten up by the ticket and passport costs,” says Angus. “We’re not greedy, but any help would be awesome!”
Weather and sculpting technicalities prevent them from wearing kilts in every circumstance, but Angus McWeasel says the team makes every effort to stay kilted no matter what the challenge, be it inclement weather or a taunting team of Vikings. “We are very proud of our Scottish heritage and the kilts are damn comfortable too,” Angus says. “I was married in my kilt. Fergus and Shamus stood up with me and sported theirs as well. But, the best part of wearing kilts is the attention that it brings to our art. We love what we do. We are still amazed at the looks we get when we tell people that we sculpt snow. Any attention we can bring to it is a great thing!