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Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships Awards Mongolia 1st Place (PHOTOS)

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The Mongolian Warriors snow sculpture made by Team Mongolia shows the marble like statue with colored lights at night as people view it in the outdoor gallery at the Riverwalk Center during the 23 annual International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colo., on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. Each of the 15 sculpture started out of a 12 foot tall, 20-ton block of compacted snow at the outdoor art gallery. The sculptures will remain on display through Feb. 3, 2013, weather permitting. Visit | AP

The 23rd annual International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge is an eagerly-awaited event that brings the Colorado snow to life.

This year's first place winner of both the Artist's and People's Choice Awards was Team Mongolia, whose "Mongolian Warriors" sculpture depicted life-like 13th-century warriors and their horses striding out of a solid 20-ton block base of snow.

“Team Mongolia evoked the furious energy of galloping across the Mongolian steppe,” said Jenn Cram, judge coordinator and Breckenridge Arts District Administrator. “The piece is powerful with its deliberate attention to detail and the dynamic alignment of planes. We could see that sculpture done in bronze, in marble; it was truly a sculptural piece.”

Alongside 14 other teams, Mongolia worked a total of 65 hours across five days without the use of power tools, internal support structures or colorants.

Second place was awarded to Team Catalonia-Spain for their homage to Picasso, or "Banyista Nua" piece. Team Estonia won third place with their piece titled "Koit."

The sculptures this year were built from Jan. 22-26, with some artists staying up all night to complete their masterpieces.

Last year's winner of the Snow Sculpture Championships was Team Canada-Quebec with a piece entitled, "Great Expectations."

Check out all of this year's snow sculpture entries as well as the winners from last year!

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