Angela Imboden, art teacher for Thunder Mountain High School, used her winter break free time and fresh snow to make sculptures in her yard Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Angela Imboden, art teacher for Thunder Mountain High School, used her winter break free time and fresh snow to make sculptures in her yard Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Art teacher sculpts giant polar bears

Each creation took hours to make

Angela Imboden rubbed her gloved hand around the large bear’s muzzle.

It was starting to take on a more defined shape.

The Thunder Mountain High School art teacher used Thursday’s fresh snowfall and winter break free time to create large snow sculptures in her front yard.

“This is what happens when you send me out to shovel snow,” Imboden said.

[Thunder Mountain students create portraits]

Imboden said she has made similar large sculptures — each bear was close to life-size — in past years, but the polar bears are the first ones she has made this winter.

She hauled sled fulls of snow from the edge of the driveway to where she would need it for her sculptures.

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, Imboden had finished one bear that peered over its shoulder with rock eyes and a woodchip nose while its creator was smoothing out a rough pile of snow that would become a bear leaning forward on its forelegs.

There were also some unshaped snow piles behind the first bear, and Imboden said she wasn’t yet sure what they would become.

The first bear, Imboden said, took about two or three hours to create.

“When I started, it wasn’t good packing snow at all, but I said, ‘I’ll put energy in and it’ll stick,” she said.

By the time she moved on to the second bear, afternoon rain and warmer weather meant the snow was wetter and more cohesive.

“This one is solid,” Imboden said while working on its face with a square tool.

She anticipated it would be able to support the weight of a child playing on it.

“I should build it on a playground next time,” Imboden said.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com.


Angela Imboden readies to load another haul of snow on a small sled Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Angela Imboden readies to load another haul of snow on a small sled Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Angela Imboden uses a square tool to smooth out a rough pile of snow that would become a second polar bear in her Juneau yard Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Angela Imboden uses a square tool to smooth out a rough pile of snow that would become a second polar bear in her Juneau yard Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

With eyes in place Angela Imboden’s second polar bear begins to take more obvious shape on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

With eyes in place Angela Imboden’s second polar bear begins to take more obvious shape on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Art teacher sculpts giant polar bears

With eyes in place Angela Imboden’s second polar bear begins to take more obvious shape on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

More in Home

Alaska House, seeking to boost oil and gas business, approves carbon storage bill

Story votes yes, Hannan votes no as governor-backed HB 50 sent to the state Senate for further work.

An illustration depicts a planned 12-acre education campus located on 42 acres in Juneau owned by the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, which was announced during the opening of its annual tribal assembly Wednesday. (Image courtesy of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)
Tribal education campus, cultural immersion park unveiled as 89th annual Tlingit and Haida Assembly opens

State of the Tribe address emphasizes expanding geographical, cultural and economic “footprint.”

An aerial view of downtown Juneau. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Task force to study additional short-term rental regulations favored by Juneau Assembly members

Operator registration requirement that took effect last year has 79% compliance rate, report states.

Cheer teams for Thunder Mountain High School and Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé perform a joint routine between quarters of a Feb. 24 game between the girls’ basketball teams of both schools. It was possibly the final such local matchup, with all high school students scheduled to be consolidated into JDHS starting during the next school year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
State OKs school district’s consolidation plan; closed schools cannot reopen for at least seven years

Plans from color-coded moving boxes to adjusting bus routes well underway, district officials say.

In an undated image provided by Ken Hill/National Park Service, Alaska, the headwaters of the Ambler River in the Noatak National Preserve of Alaska, near where a proposed access road would end. The Biden administration is expected to deny permission for a mining company to build a 211-mile industrial road through fragile Alaskan wilderness, handing a victory to environmentalists in an election year when the president wants to underscore his credentials as a climate leader and conservationist. (Ken Hill/National Park Service, Alaska via The New York Times)
Biden’s Interior Department said to reject industrial road through Alaskan wilderness

The Biden administration is expected to deny permission for a mining company… Continue reading

Snow falls on the Alaska Capitol and the statue of William Henry Seward on Monday, April 1. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska’s carbon storage bill, once a revenue measure, is now seen as boon for oil and coal

Last year, when Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposed legislation last year to allow… Continue reading

People staying at the city’s cold weather emergency shelter during its final night of operation board a bus bound for the Glory Hall and other locations in town early Tuesday morning. In the background are tour buses that a company says were broken into and damaged during the winter by people staying at the shelter, and one of the first cruise ships of the season. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau’s homeless head outdoors with no official place to camp as warming shelter closes for season

“Everybody’s frantic. They’re probably all going to be sleeping on the streets by the stores again.”

Juneau’s Recycling Center and Household Hazardous Waste Facility at 5600 Tonsgard Court. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)
Recycleworks stops accepting dropoffs temporarily due to equipment failure

Manager of city facility hopes operations can resume by early next week

The Anchorage band Big Chimney Barn Dance performs in the main ballroom of Centennial Hall on Sunday night near the end of the 49th Annual Alaska Folk Festival. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
49th annual Alaska Folk Festival ends with promise of an ‘epic’ 50th

Weeklong event remains free after nearly a half-century “which is unheard of,” board president says.

Most Read