How to build the perfect snowman according to a professional snow sculptor

Dec 9 2016, 10:50 pm

There could finally be enough snow on the ground in Toronto to get out there and build a snowman.

But building a snowman isn’t just a simple 10-minute task. It takes planning, creativity, and passion.

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Sure, you can roll up three balls of snow and stick a carrot in it when it’s done. But what’s the fun in that?

To get some real advice on how to build a magnificently crafted snowman, Daily Hive spoke to professional snow sculptor David Ducharme of Winlaw, BC.

Yes, really.

And Ducharme knows his stuff. For the past 14 years, he has been sculpting ice, snow, and sand around the world. He also works with Ephemeral Arts Ltd., a company that specializes in snow and sand art.

Ducharme and his team have created some pretty incredible works of art. Their work has also been awarded on an international level.

Image: Ephemeral Arts Ltd.

Image: Ephemeral Arts Ltd.

Image: Ephemeral Arts Ltd.

Image: Ephemeral Arts Ltd.

Image: Ephemeral Arts Ltd.

Image: Ephemeral Arts Ltd.

Expert advice

Speaking to our Vancouver team, Ducharme said their recent snowfall in is the perfect texture to build something great.

“I expect the snow to be sticky for you folks, so it should hold together fairly easily,” he told Daily Hive Vancouver. Hopefully Toronto gets hit with the same today.

If you really want to go beyond the classic three-ball snowman shape, Ducharme suggests using some household items.

“We like to use forms to shape our snow blocks, plywood is good for boxes, anything that can contain snow and pull off. For example, an upside down garbage can with the bottom cut out.”

And basic tools can also go a long way. “We use old saws and chisels, lots of our tools are personally hand made with good steel, but you can do a lot with little,” he said.

Don’t give up

Trying to get creative with snow is not easy. And if you want to stick to the standard snowman, that is completely understandable. But just know that even the Ephemeral Arts team has struggled to sculpt their masterpieces.

In 2006, Ducharme and his fellow sculptors  headed to the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, to compete in a snow sculpting competition. “The conditions were poor, a bit warm, so we couldn’t manifest what we had planned,” Ducharme told Daily Hive.

“We didn’t know what to do, and then (my colleague) Carl crumpled a piece of paper that had a bad idea on it, but then that crumpled ball jumped out as the perfect piece; the carver’s block. So we carved a giant paper ball with three guys around it wondering what to do. And we won first place.”

So get out there, don’t give up, and show the world your snow artistry skills.