Viking Articles

We are the VIB: Svenhärd, Thorfinn, and Bjorn, three half-Swedish brothers originally from Roscoe, Illinois. We were raised by Karin and George Skupien (sponsors and huge supporters) to be dedicated to our work but to never forget to have fun doing it.

Svenhärd began sculpting in 1990 as part of another team and was joined the following year by Thorfinn. Together with sculptor Bob Belt, the team won its first state award (Third Place) for a Gulf War piece entitled "The Graduate." The following year we competed in Nationals for the first time.

In 1993, Bob Belt left the team and was replaced by another brother, Bjorn. The team began wearing matching grey coveralls and we were unofficially dubbed "The Sewer Workers" by fellow state sculptors.

In 1994, we donned all black snow suits and face masks and became "The Ninja Sculptors" (again a name given by other sculptors). That year's sculpture "Mjolnir" (depicting the Norse god Thor) won us a Second Place state award and a return trip to Nationals (where we went every chance we got for decades). That year we also began the tradition of handing out bottles of "Bjorn's Bitchin' Glug."

The following year we officially became The Mighty Morphin' Swedish Mutant Ninja Sculptors and donned our now infamous Viking helmets. A couple years later we changed our name because little kids just didn't understand the joke anymore and we permanently became the Vikings In Black.

In 2002, Thorfinn narrowly survived being hit by a drunk driver while walking across the street to his house... ending his boxing career and spawning a much, much angrier Viking. But the show must go on, and as Thorfinn says “Fighters fight.”

The Vikings continued to compete until 2017, when we officially walked away from the competition circuit, launching our own annual exhibition at Rockton Yeti Fest in Settlers Park in Rockton, Illinois. It was there that we joined our sculpting friends to create the Legion of Snow Sculptors.

The VIB is now one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) snow sculpting teams in existence with the same team members. We don’t plan on stopping.

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