Fitness coach and tree surgeon make waves in international snow sculpture competition

Forget building a simple snowman, fitness coach Martin Sharp and tree surgeon Justin Scott have created an interactive sailing boat using snow in the Austrian Alps.

The Yorkshire-based pair have been competing in the international snow sculpture competition, Shapes in White, in Ischgl, Austria. Their entry, a snow boat known as Unsinkable 2, attracted a lot of positive comments from the judges and came in 9th place in the contest, which finished on the 13 January 2023.

Last year, Martin and Justin secured fourth place in the competition with a double decker bus-sized sculpture of Eddie the Eagle, designed to pay homage to the British ski jumper. This year’s entry was a simpler design but it allowed people to actually sit inside it and imagine they were sailing the boat through the spectacular mountains surrounding it.

Martin, who runs the fitness and lifestyle coaching business Sharp Fit For Life, said they weren’t disappointed that the risk they’d taken with this year’s design hadn’t paid off with a ranking in the top five. As the only British competitors, the pair were always going to be underdogs as there is rarely enough snowfall for them to practice their snow sculpture skills in the UK.

The 45-year-old from York said: “We’ve taken a huge pile of snow and turned it into an amazing snow boat which made people smile and had a lot of fun doing it. We absolutely loved creating this sculpture and it feels like we literally sailed it as it just came together really well.

“Our favourite moment has been seeing the faces of everyone who has looked around the finished sculpture. They’ve all had the wow moment and they have all sat in the boat and pretended to be sailors in the middle of the mountains.”

Now the competition has finished, Martin, from York, and Justin, from Driffield, are getting ready to create another masterpiece from snow – this time in Sweden. In less than two weeks, they will be competing in the Kiruna International Snow Sculpture Competition, recreating an abstract bronze sculpture of the human form made by Justin.

It is the first time they have competed in the event, which takes place 140km north of the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland from January 25 to 29. It forms part of the Kiruna Snow Festival, which features a range of winter activities including figure skating, dog sledding and the snow blower world championship.

Martin added: “We’re really looking forward to Kiruna – the snow in that part of the world is excellent quality and it should be a great adventure. As soon as we’d finished the detail on our snow boat, we started to think about how we could best approach our next creation – we’ve even been dreaming about snow sculptures.”

The event will take place again in January 2024. Further information is available at