TWO Yorkshire friends have set about the challenge of recreating Olympic legend Eddie the Eagle - out of a 100 tonne pile of snow.

Martin Sharp, 45, a business consultant and fitness coach from York, and Justin Scott, 50, a tree surgeon and gardener from Driffield, have travelled to Austria to compete against the world’s top sculptors in Ischgl’s international snow sculpture competition.

The pair, who met at Leeds Canoe Club in 2002, are going to create iconic UK ski jumper Michael ‘Eddie the Eagle’ Edwards, for the competition theme of Winter Sports.

York Press: Martin Sharp and Justin Scott on a 100 tonne pile of snow

The event, which has started and runs until January 14, has been carried across to this January after it was cancelled last year due to Covid restrictions.

The competition, held in Silvretta resort in Ischgl, involves teams made up of two, including some of the world’s greatest sculptors.

The pairs submit their designs based on the theme, which are then selected by the competition committee.

York Press: Martin and Justin paying homage to Elton John in 2020

Martin said: “We are both excited and thrilled to be invited back - for Justin, Ischgl holds many memories - some tragic, some rewarding, some amazing.”

Justin has come second place in the past with a carving of Elton John, bringing a “British influence to the Austrian mountain tops”.

He originally got into the art-form while on holiday in Austria in 2000, after he spotted a man in his 70s drinking whisky outside his hotel.

The man turned out to be Canadian snow sculptor Camilian Belenger, who couldn’t compete as his partner had fallen ill - so Justin decided to help as he is a trained figurative sculptor.

York Press: Justin's 2nd place entry of Elton John in 2002

They carved Papa Smurf in the Alps, which gave Justin the credentials to submit his own designs to the competition in the following years.

Justin said: “I guess I’ve been lucky to have been naturally gifted, with a keen eye and great friends to help me along the way.”

Martin partnered up with Justin in 2016, despite Martin’s lack of artistic background, as Justin’s original partner pulled out at the last minute.

Over the years, Justin has mentored Martin and the pair now say they work as a great team.

York Press:

Martin said: “Britain is not renowned for quality snow, certainly nothing that could be sculpted - plus, the artificial snow you get in indoor snow sports centres isn’t suitable for sculpting - working with that compacted snow is a little like working with polystyrene.

“Therefore we come to the competition cold from a practise perspective, though we discuss the build and do several sketches to plan what we will do.

“We usually rank in the middle - we are very proud to be in the running.

“And we are hoping that as Michael ‘Eddie the Eagle’ Edwards was an underdog in his sport when he first started, his influence will rub off as we sculpt him.”