Bison that ripped off tourist's pants memorialized in stunning snow sculpture

Bison on road at Yellowstone National Park
(Image credit: Getty)

A bison that attacked a tourist at a state park has been memorialized with an award-winning snow sculpture. The woman was the unlucky star of a viral video that showed her straying too close to a bison herd at Custer State Park, South Dakota. In the clip, which you can watch below, she finds herself tossed in the air by one particularly aggravated animal, which somehow manages to rip off her trousers while twirling her in the air.

She was taken to hospital and has since recovered from her injuries. Park Rangers retrieved her pants from the horns of the bison, with her keys still in the pocket.

It was a painful reminder that bison, like all wild animals, can be unpredictable – particularly when they feel threatened. The National Park Service recommends staying at least 25 yards (23 meters) from the animals at all times, and never approaching or deliberately disturbing them.

Now, as Cowboy State Daily reports, the moment has been celebrated in snow by sculptors Heather Friedli, Juliana Welter and Kelly Thune for the Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Competition. Their work, depicting the bison with wings sprouting from its back and a pair of jeans pierced on one horn, won third prize overall, and took the artist's choice award.

In the competition, each team of up to three members is given an 8ft cube of snow, and has two and a half days to carve a sculpture using only hand tools. The overall winning team receives $1,000, a trophy, and an opportunity to represent Minnesota at the US National Snow Sculpting Competition.

The three had considered sculpting an eagle chatting with a bison, but eventually settled on the 'pantsing' incident. The result was a favorite with the crowds.

"People loved it," said Friedli, a professional artist by trade who has been sculpting with snow for the last 15 years. "And we got Artist’s Choice, too, which is always important, to be recognized by fellow artists."

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.