Minnesota team finishes 1st in World Snow Sculpting Championship

Minnesota’s own House of Thune snow sculpting team is feeling on top of the world this weekend, after taking first place at the second annual World Snow Sculpting Championship in Stillwater.

"It felt pretty surreal being up there on the stage," snow sculptor Kelly Thune told FOX 9 on Sunday. "There were so many pieces this year that I thought deserved to win it, that I didn’t expect it."

Kelly’s brother Dusty used custom hand tools to get the job done alongside his team; carving 10 tons of snow into a sculpture named "Journey."

"It’s kind of a raw and brutal look at how we fall apart when we come to adversity," Dusty explained. "And how we pull ourselves back together over and over again."

The inspiration for the piece came easily, but in a way they wish could’ve been avoided, because while creating "Journey" a large fire in Osceola ruined a team member’s art gallery. A GoFundMe has been started to help the gallery rebuild.

(FOX 9)

"He pulled the pieces back together and came here, and we finished by winning," Dusty said. "It was just an amazing moment of triumph for him."

House of Thune triumphed over teams from Germany, Finland, Argentina, Ecuador and Turkey to take home a $4,000 prize.

(FOX 9)

But the real prize for them is in beating adversity, to share their gifts with many grateful people.

"It’s worth it to come to Stillwater right now and check it out because this won’t be around forever," Dusty said. He estimates "Journey" will stand for about two more weeks before Mother Nature reclaims her snow.