Plumbing and heating engineer Tony Walker swapped the tools of his trade of wrenches and plungers for shovels and scrapers to take on the biggest challenge of his life
Plumbing and heating engineer Tony Walker swapped the tools of his trade of wrenches and plungers for shovels and scrapers to take on the biggest challenge of his life - sculpting a 3.5 metre vampire out of snow in the top Austrian ski resort of Ischgl.
Previously he had only ever built a snowman with coal for eyes and carrot nose at his London home, but he rose to the challenge when invited to the Tirolean resort to take part in the 18th annual Shapes in White exhibition, which has become The Alps' leading snow sculpture event attracting sculptors from all over the world.
His friend Dieter Faust, German-born, but living in London, invited him to work with him as one of the 10 two-man teams tackling this year's Vampires theme. Their exhibit was called The Holy Cross.
Tony, from East Hackney, said: "I'd been to Ischgl before, so I knew it and was excited to return as a snow sculptor, although my previous attempts at building anything out of snow were limited to a snowman in the garden with the usual two pieces of coal for eyes and carrot for nose.
"Shapes in White was a fantastic experience and I loved doing it. The biggest challenge was when it snowed heavily one night and our work from the previous days was all covered up and we had to re-create it!
"It's good to think that the snow sculptures will be there on the slopes until the snow melts in the spring."
The teams are given a theme each year - as well as a huge pile of snow, provided courtesy of the resort's piste-grooming machines - and have four days to complete their sculpture. The sculptors work at different points all over the slopes, so the result is an open-air snow art gallery that skiers and boarders can enjoy until the exhibits melt in the spring at the end of Ischgl's five month long snowsure winter season.