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Brothers create massive snow sculptures to raise money for clean water around the world

Meet Austin, Trevor and Connor Bartz, three brothers who have turned their art into something much bigger than themselves.

The Bartz brothers create elaborate snow sculptures at their home in New Brighton, Minnesota, just outside of Minneapolis. Hundreds of visitors come to see their massive sculptures every year.

It all started six years ago, when eldest brother Austin caught a puffer fish while on vacation in Florida. The intricate fish intrigued them so much, they decided to recreate it themselves.

"We just thought, oh wow, that'd be cool to make out of snow," said Austin.

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Austin, Connor and Trevor Bartz pose with their favorite snow sculpture to date, Octavius the Snow Octopus, in January 2016. The sculpture took over 500 hours of work. (Facebook Photo/Bartz Snow Sculptures)

One month later, the project for a snow day at home seemed obvious.

"We wanted to do something unique that we could put our own twist on," said Austin.

Once they posted the pictures to social media, their following exploded. They currently have over 1,700 subscribers to their YouTube channel, nearly 3,000 Instagram followers and they have countless photos of visitors to the sculptures posted on their Facebook page.

Since 2012, the brothers put together a new sculpture every year. The exact timing of their sculpture isn't planned in advance, since they need to wait until they have enough snow. They build snow masterpieces in a matter of days, using a combination of shovels and their own six hands.

"We first start by piling up all the snow in our yard, and that usually takes about a week," said Austin. "For all the details and everything else, we keep all the snow in the garage."

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The Bartz brothers react to a giant "shark" being in their front yard. (Facebook Photo/Bartz Snow Sculptures)

Austin said that by keeping the garage warm, the snow becomes wet and easily packable without completely melting.

It's a lot of work, according to the Bartz brothers. This year's snow fish took them about 250 hours to put together, but Austin said the most challenging part is something that's out of their hands.

"The weather is not very consistent here," said Austin. "Sometimes we don't have snow, so we don't know when we can start."

"This year, we even had a rainstorm and had to cover [the sculpture] with a big tarp," he said.

While the weather might not always cooperate, the boys had such success with their sculptures that after three years, they decided it was time to use their artistic acclaim for good. The Bartz brothers began collecting donations for clean water around the world.

Last year, they raised money for clean drinking water in Haiti and most recently for Malawi in Africa. This year, they've raised almost $18,000 as part of their $25,000 goal.

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Austin, Trevor and Connor pose with their first sculpture, a puffer fish, which inspired their sculptue series. (Facebook Photo/Bartz Snow Sculptures)

"We had a lot of people coming by and... we realized we could make a bigger impact," said Austin.

Fans of the Bartz brothers work can donate when visiting the sculpture in person or by clicking here.