And the winners of the snow sculpting competition are...

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Photo: Photo by Cassandra Kerwin

Martin Dubé, Jean-Philippe Gagnon and Marc Dubé stand proudly by their sculpture, "Under the Palm's Hold." The title of the sculpture in French.... "Sous l'emprise de LA PAUME" was a wink at the tenure of Mayor Régis Labeaume.

The results of the Student and the National Levels of the 43rd International Snow Sculpting Competition were revealed on February 1. The students' sculptures were in the reserved area by Bonhomme's Ice Palace, while works by the national competitors could be seen on the Plains of Abraham.

In the student category, the public chose "Open Me Up" - a creature with tentacles coming through a door over an open book - by Université Laval Architecture students Florence Asselin, Steve Fortier and Marc-Antoine Viel. "Books open our creative imagination to architecture," said Asselin.

When the trio were asked if Pixar's animated movie Monsters, Inc. had inspired them, Viel answered, "No, not at all. A few people have made that comment. It's pure coincidence."

Karim Mohellebi, Ikram Sahla and Roxanne Perrier from Cégep Marie-Victorin won the Carnival's bursary and entry to the 2016 National Competition with their "Flocon" ("Snowflake") sculpture. "We were inspired by the theme of winter, a snowflake, seen in a different way," said Sahla.

"We zoomed in microscopically." Perrier added, "It is really abstract, geometrical and beautiful and it impressed us."

For the National Public's Choice Award, visitors to the Plains of Abraham selected "Sous l'emprise de LA PAUME" ("Under the Palm's Hold") by Marc and Martin Dubé, and Jean-Philippe Gagnon from the Montérégie/Vallée-du-Richelieu. This work depicts a greedy monster with a large hand representing power. The work also won the Canadian Award of Excellence, which gives the team the right to enter the 2016 International competition. "The inspiration came from imagining a character that would intrigue passers-by," said Marc.

The Artists' Choice Award and the Capitale-Nationale Award of Excellence both went to "Bench: Snowbank, Shoal or Dock?" by André Vigneau, Adrien Gaudet and Edmund Cyr of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine. A bench made out of fish suggests life under the sea.

The sculpture "'Infan-try' Nightmare" by Raphaël Jeannotte, Mathieu Beaudry and Samuel Lépine from Montérégie/Longueuil won the Carnaval de Québec Award of Excellence. The pirate ship with an octopus on board is a child's nightmare.

"Paroxysm" won the Volunteer's Choice Award. Created by North Shore artists Mario Bonneau, Jimmy Tremblay and Frédéric Fournier, the sculpture of soldiers bearing a fallen comrade's coffin depicts the price of freedom.