THE Australian Snow Sculpture Team (ASST) may have been out of the placings at the 44th International Snow Sculpture Contest as part of the 68th Sapporo Festival but proved to be a crowd favourite.
The Aussie quartet from Jervis Bay, Clayton Campion, Scott and Paul Sheehan and Rob Duff, battled minus 20 degree Japanese temperatures during the four-day competition.
Scott, Clayton and Paul were the snow carvers, creating the “Opera-chidna”, while Rob is co-ordinating the team’s efforts.
The locals, who were one of 10 international teams taking part in the competition, incorporated two Aussie icons in their design, the Opera House and an echidna.
Each team created their sculptures from a three metre high, three metre wide and three metre deep block of compressed snow.
Mr Duff said it was an “awesome” experience.
“The team was very proud of its efforts, producing a fantastic snow sculpture,” he said.
“The design seemed to be a crowd favourite, especially with the local schoolchildren that visited most mornings.
“The support from home and also from loads of Aussies on holidays or working in Japan was inspiring.”
The team enjoyed the company of other competitors from all over the world, getting together after working 12-hour days over the four days of the competition.
The team from Macau claimed the win ahead of Latvia, while Hawaii was third, Poland fourth and Singapore fifth.
“We might not have made the top five, however the competition was very tough,” Mr Duff said.
“Most teams are semi-professional and travel the world sculpturing.”
The quartet is keen for another crack at the world’s best at next year’s festival.