TWO friends from North Yorkshire created a snow sculpture in record time for an international competition.
Fitness coach Martin Sharp, from York, and tree surgeon Justin Scott, from Driffield, competed against sculptors from across the world in the Kiruna International Snow Sculpture Competition, which is held 140km north of the Arctic Circle in the Swedish Lapland.
They completed their sculpture, known as the Figurative Animate X Three, an abstract bronze sculpture of the human form with three sides, in the record time of two days, which was the new record for the event.
Justin, who has been snow sculpting since 2000, had designed the Figurative Animate X Three himself.
It was the second snow sculpture they created in January, as earlier in the month they competed in Shapes in White, an international snow sculpture competition in Austria, where their snow boat, Unsinkable 2, was awarded ninth place.
Martin, 45, 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 their experience had been completely different to Shapes in White.
He 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, who met at Leeds Canoe Club in 2002, didn't win the contest, nor were they named the runner-up, they celebrated finishing with some traditional Lapland activities, including dog sledding, a skidoo ride and a visit to an ice hotel.
Last year, Martin and Justin secured fourth place in Shapes in White, with a double decker bus sized sculpture of Eddie the Eagle, to pay homage to the British ski jumper.