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(From left): Keith Klett, Kurtis Klett and Mike Leider with their piece, “Crush MS,” earlier in 2016. Photo courtesy of Kurt Klett

Giving MS the deep freeze

Snow sculptures embody one man’s fight against the disease.

by Kurtis Klett

I have been creating things out of snow ever since I can remember. I have always liked playing outside in the winter and have become very creative over the years. For the past seven years, I have made sculptures in my front yard. Coincidentally, they have all ended up being completed around my youngest child’s birthday, on Valentine’s Day. Because that happens to be close to MS Awareness Week, I decided that the sculptures should have a message about MS on them.

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“Bite MS” Photo courtesy of Kurt Klett

I worked on “Bite MS” and “Crush MS” as competition sculptures at the Minnesota Winter Carnival in 2015 and 2016, respectively, where there were 10 to 12 teams of three sculptors each. My team included my best friend, Mike Leider, and my brother, Keith Klett. Each of our sculptures took our team an average of 23 working hours to complete.

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“Crush MS” Photo courtesy of Kurt Klett

One of the reasons it took so long was because the snow at the festival was rock-hard, unlike the snow in my front yard, where I am able to use common objects like a hockey stick, a shovel and a broom as sculpting “tools.” At the festival our first year, we discovered we needed to use lumberjack saws, chisels and horse combs. We learned that the hard way, but all the other sculptors were happy to lend us their tools of the trade. The next year we brought our own.

As long as I have a team and I stay determined, I plan to continue to make snow sculptures for MS awareness. When I decide to do something, I take it on full force—the same way I deal with my MS—head-on, strong and all in!

Kurtis Klett, 44, was diagnosed with MS in 1998. He lives in Faribault, Minnesota.
Winter 2016–17
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