Two Yorkshire men have been competing with artists from all over the world in their second snow sculpture competition this month, completing their creation in record time.
Fitness coach Martin Sharp, from York, and tree surgeon Justin Scott, from Driffield, were pitted against sculptors from Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, France and the United States in the Kiruna International Snow Sculpture Competition 2023. The pair completed their sculpture, known as Figurative Animate X Three, in just two days, which was the new record for the event, which is held 140km north of the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland.
The creation – an abstract human figure with three sides – was the second snow sculpture created by the team in January. They had already competed in Shapes in White, an international snow sculpture competition in Austria, where their snow boat called Unsinkable 2 was awarded ninth place.
Martin, who runs the fitness and lifestyle coaching business Sharp Fit For Life, said it was the first time they had entered the Kiruna contest and the experience had been completely different.
The 45-year-old said: “In Austria, we were working on top of a mountain at high altitudes, whereas here we were sculpting in a city with everyday life going on around us. As it was lower altitude, we didn’t get tired as quickly so it felt easier and we were delighted to be the first to finish our sculpture in just two days.
“It took us about 15 or 16 hours in total – the snow was very soft, which meant we could pile through it quickly but the finish wasn’t as crisp as we’d hoped. There has also been a great sense of camaraderie between the sculptors with people sharing ideas and borrowing tools.
“The thing we have really enjoyed is that lots of people have been coming to watch the sculptures take form, including lots of children. There have been school parties coming to take a look and have a go at creating their own smaller snow sculptures and high school students worked with two sculptors to create a play park made out of snow.”
Although the pair weren’t named as the winner or runner-up, they were proud of their efforts and celebrated finishing with some traditional Lapland activities including dog sledding, a skidoo ride and a visit to an ice hotel.