The winter chill will soon give way to the spring thaw, so folks who don't live in a place where it's freezing cold year round will be making the most of the last winter snowstorms.
Some will make snow angels, others will pelt people with snowballs, but a select few will use hard packed snow as a sculpting medium, creating some mighty dreamy snow sculptures to amaze and astound.
These skilled sculptors use tools and knowhow to transform a seemingly soft medium like snow into remarkably realistic, and surprisingly hard edged, sculptures that will someday melt in the sun.
Some snow sculptures are so well made and expertly engineered they look like people could move right in!
It's far more common for snow sculptures to be made in the likeness of characters with softer edges, since most snow sculptors started by building snowmen, so crazy cartoon characters are a popular subject matter.
Nordic folks adore those cute comic strip characters The Moomins, so it's not surprising to see them in snow sculpture form in the northern lands
But rendering the Moomins in a realistic manner, complete with clothing and accessories, takes some serious skills
Many snow sculptures look smaller in photographs than they actually are, making it hard to appreciate how much work a team of people put in to making these cool works of art
This massive piece, featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse et al., was created by soldiers from Japan's Ground Self Defence Force for the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan
And the same soldiers created this giant sculpture of Darth Vader and Stormtroopers last year in Sapporo.
Of course, pop culture characters aren't the only subjects who benefit from having softer edges and intricate detail,
And when you're paying homage to the beauty of the natural world with snow you gotta keep those edges soft
Many of the sculptures featured on this list were photographed at the Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo At the Sun Island Park in downtown Harbin City, China
The Snow Sculpture Expo has become the place to see snow sculptures epic in both scale and incredible detail
And in case you were wondering about the scale of this magnificent tableau check out the dozen or so people working on the project, they almost look like ants in comparison!
Beautiful snow sculptures abound at the Snow Sculpture Expo, which lasts a few months a year
And people really enjoy checking out these amazing, epic scale sculptures
But that doesn't mean the Expo in Harbin is the only place to see amazing snow sculptures, sometimes they can be seen in our own backyards
And a great snow sculptor can bringing SpongeBob's hometown of Bikini Bottom to life on the surface, although a bit of strong sun will put the whole thing underwater again
But it seems the sculptures at the Harbin Expo can't be beat in terms of massive scale and beautiful detail.
Because those who create the amazing 3D works seen at the Harbin Expo see snow sculpting as a team sport!
No matter how many artists work on a snow sculpture they all agree on one thing- the subject matter, like the snow itself, has to be light
With lighthearted motifs and a heavy reverence for Mother Nature
Fantasy scenes are a popular choice, especially when the piece features both soft and hard edged shapes
But no matter who or what the sculptor has chosen as their subject
Their incredibly cool sculptures are sure to make people smile
And in the end all that hard work always pays off for those gifted sculptors
Who freeze their paws off to create an incredible, yet delicate and short-lived, masterpiece made of snow
Hopefully this collection of incredible snow sculptures will inspire you to play in the snow more before it all melts away until next winter.
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