OCC Students Carve Icy Niche in Winter Competitions

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Local Award-Winning Team Brings Home National Gold and Bronze Wins

Winter competitions are not for the faint of heart. Competitors must bring skill, endurance, agility and fearlessness to win. When your teammates and rivals pack chain saws, razor sharp chisels and hand saws: talent, ability and creativity on the ice becomes crystal clear.

Fans of winter competition don’t need to travel to South Korea to experience the excitement of supporting local favorites in national competition. Entering as perennial favorites, six fearless and creative ice carvers represented Oakland Community College in this year’s Collegiate National Ice Carving Championship in Frankenmuth. The team secured top honors again this year, bringing the total to 10 out of 11 consecutive first place national wins for the OCC team.

OCC’s three ice-carving teams (two students per team) each arrived at the January 26-28 national competition with substantial local wins under their parkas (prior competition results listed below). The first night—in challenging above average temperatures—carvers competed as individuals, each given a specific design to sculpt. The following day, they individually carved, this time choosing their own design. On the final day, they competed in teams of two to carve multi-block sculptures of their choice.

The combined points from the three-day challenge determined this year’s national champions. Among icy competition, OCC students and teammates Gillian Tappenden (Dearborn) and Chris Craft (Waterford) maintained their status as national college champions for the second year in a row. Classmates Tica Paraday (Oak Park) and John Mannschreck (Waterford) took third place while the team of Ryan Snopkowski (Troy) and Casey Damman (Milford) took fourth place overall.

After the win, Trappen shared, “Thanks to our coach and my very talented partner, we were able to repeat our national win again this year. I consider ice carving an art.” His ambition is to continue to learn more techniques to refine his detailed work and further hone his skills once he begins working in food service after graduation.

Craft agrees with his partner about the artistic aspect of their work. “It’s exciting to be able to craft beautiful ice pieces,” he said. “The competition makes you push yourself and prepare for anything. It was an incredibly close race this year and the warm weather was a major challenge for all of us.”

Students in the Culinary Studies Institute are encouraged to take an elective ice carving class and, if they are able to demonstrate basic carving technique and safety, they are considered for one of the ice carving competition teams. “Ice carving competition is great for students’ organization and timing skills,” said OCC Culinary Department Chair Chef Doug Ganhs, CEC.

For more information about OCC’s Culinary Studies Institute and upcoming Ice Carving competitions, visit oaklandcc.edu/culinary.

OCC ice carving team wins to date:

Rochester Fire and Ice Festival (January 19-21) results: Gillian Tappenden (Dearborn) took home first place for her sea turtle ice sculpture while teammates Chris Craft (Waterford) took home second place, Ryan Snopkowski (Troy) took fourth place, Sophia Hsu (Farmington) fifth, and seventh place seat to John Mannschreck (Waterford).

Plymouth Ice Festival (January 12-14) results: two OCC teams took first and second place; in first place was the team of John Mannschreck & Tica Paraday and in second place were Gillian Tappenden and Ryan Snopkowski. Individual honors went to, first place – Gillian Tappenden, second place – Tica Paraday, and third place – John Mannschreck.


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