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Lack of snow, for the third year in a row, has forced the postponement of the Western New York Snow Sculpting Competition.

Scheduled for Friday to Sunday, the contest downtown will be postponed for a week, officials said today.

Sponsors are hoping they will be as lucky as they were the first two years of the competition when a last-minute snowfall allowed the contest to go on a week late.

"The long-range forecast for this week looks bleak," said Dottie Gallagher, manager of promotions for Buffalo Place, sponsors of the contest.

The forecast for the next few days is for clear skies and temperatures in the 40s, but colder weather is expected by the weekend. For the contest to have been on "go" this weekend, it would have taken at least three to six inches to fall before Friday.

If Mother Nature doesn't cooperate by next Tuesday, the only hope might be to truck in snow from the South Towns, but even that could be a problem.

While there is a snow cover in the South Towns, there certainly aren't any "mountains" of piled snow waiting to be trucked downtown.

They tried that the first year of the competition, but it melted after it reached downtown.

Sculptors are provided with boxes of snow that Ms. Gallagher said "can take up to two days to fill, even with a good snowfall."

Also put on standby are members of the Professional Chefs Association, who planned to display their talents on Saturday with ice sculptures.

Sponsors are keeping their fingers crossed that the Feb. 9 weekend will be a repeat of last year, when there was plenty of snow on the ground.

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