A small Japanese city has claimed a new snowman-building world record, an official said Monday, after a winter storm dumped tonnes of the white stuff.

More than 600 people raced to complete a whopping 1,585 snowmen - each at least three-feet (90 centimetres) tall - in an hour, smashing the previous Guinness World Record. ‘We’ve been preparing the event since last year,’ said an official in Iiyama city, where 23 centimetres (nine inches) of snow fell in 24 hours.

Young and old joined in the fun, using only their gloved hands, to better the previous record, achieved in the United States in 2011, by 306. ‘It was tough because the snow crumbled, but I had fun,’ eight-year-old Ichika Oguchi said, according to Kyodo News. ‘I am very happy that we were able to set a record.’