360 tour inside the snow sculptures of the McCall Winter Carnival

The McCall Winter Carnival continues this week and wraps up this weekend so there's still time to see the nearly 40 snow sculptures on display around town. But in case you can't make it to McCall and you want to feel like you are there, then we have a special edition of Idaho Life that is going to put you in the middle of sculptors sculpting their sculptures.

McCall, Idaho -- The snow on the ground shows the season is already underway, but winter doesn't get into full swing in McCall until the last weekend in January.

"We typically see about 50 to 60 thousand people come into town," says McKenzie Kraemer with McCall's Chamber of Commerce. "So, a dramatic increase to our population."

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The McCall Winter Carnival as it is seen now is in its 53rd year but it actually started in 1924, according to Kraemer, and during the week it takes this town of about 3,000 and turns it into a wonderland swollen with snow sculptures.

The theme this year is "There's Snow Place Like Home," so around town you can see Wizard of Oz-type snow sculptures scattered among the 38 you can see around the city.

You can get a fully-immersed version of this story on our YouTube channel. The experience is best viewed on the YouTube app, and even better with VR goggles.

This year it took a bit longer to get going with the lack of decent snowfall having left a lot of the icing off most of the cakes until the week before. And that left sculptors trying to scrape together enough time to get theirs done.

Like over at Mountain Lake Realty, Sherilyn Williams and Jocelyn Rogg have only been at this a few days and will likely be shaping snow up to the last minute to finish their "Penguin Party" sculpture.

"Totally going to pull this one off, Jocelyn," says Sherilyn. "I was a little worried at first but he's coming along."

"Oh, I can't wait to see it!" responds Jocelyn. "You're the penguin master!"

Jocelyn gives a tour of their display.

"This is going to be a penguin sliding down here, we're going to have a penguin here like he fell on his back," she explains. "And there's going to be a penguin coming out of the opening too. So all those columns you see over there are going to be penguins. A penguin party!"

Out on the edge of town, you'll find the Emerald City, a creation of Richard Brown and Jeff Weston.

Richard takes three weeks off work every year to compose artistic pieces out of piles of snow, to the amazement of those who stop by to watch him work.

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Together Richard and Jeff have a combined 36 years carving at the winter carnival.

"You think we got enough of this head I can put the crown right in it?" asks Jeff, wondering about completing the Cowardly Lion character.

This year, they've got everything wrapped around the life-sized centerpieces.

"Well, they're all looking up here toward the Emerald City," says Jeff, explaining the remaining plans of their sculpture. "And this is going to be dug out right in here and so we'll have the red poppies in here, rows and rows of 'em."

Twenty hours left there's still a lot more work to do. But during the last week before the last weekend of January, there's no place Jeff and Richard would rather be.

"Well, it's snow place like, click your heels three times, you know," says Jeff. "There's snow place like home."

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