These Giant Snow Sculptures Celebrate the Joy of Winter
Matt Morris of Waterloo, Ontario has created more than 100 snow sculptures over the years—and is sharing his creative talents for all to enjoy.
This is the tenth year I’ve created snow sculptures on our front lawn here in Waterloo. It’s been great fun learning how to carve snow, while I visit with my neighbours and those passing by. Many of my creations are about two and a half metres high and my favourite type of snow is dry or non-packing snow. Once I pound it into a pail or my snow forms and I let it sinter (bond) for a few hours, it is a great medium for carving. People are sometimes surprised that I don’t prefer packing snow. In my experience, dry snow is easier to carve—and more likely to be available! What an opportunity for winter fun.
I’ve made more than 100 snow sculptures over the years. This past winter, one of my creations was a huge foot, stomping on COVID. Other creations include an owl, where I made the eyes by turning old scraps of wood on my lathe and then painting them. I also carved a snow sculpture of the character Carl from the movie Up—he might be my favourite. Ultimately, the favourite part of what I do is seeing people enjoy my creations. A couple of years ago, Pascal Siakam of the Toronto Raptors enjoyed a very tall likeness of him I carved—especially as the entire sculpture could spin!
A typical project has three steps. The first is to pound snow into a form, whether it be a 19-litre pail for a small project, or a two-metre-high plastic form. The second phase involves going inside for hot chocolate while the snow sinters. This is a crucial step where the snow crystals bond together—it usually takes a few hours, or even overnight. The final step is where the fun really begins—I use a variety of tools to carve the block of snow. A grapefruit knife is an important tool but even a robust plastic knife can be used. Safety is always an important consideration and for kids, any tool choice should be parent or guardian approved.
A few years ago, I put together a free website to share my knowledge. Last year as the pandemic wore on through the summer, I anticipated a challenging winter for everyone. So I decided to do three things. First, I created a free snow sculpting club on my website. I wanted to share my knowledge and give kids (of all ages) another option for winter fun. The club now has members from across Canada and other parts of the world and new members are always welcome. Kids enjoy earning the eight badges that are available.
The second thing I did was build more than 80 “snow pounders” I designed and gave away to families in my neighbourhood.
The third was give larger snow forms to a number of really enthusiastic local kids—it was fun to see them take centre stage and appear on the local TV news.
Then one day, the town of Riverview, N.B., connected with me, wanting to get involved. They ended up making more than 350 of my pounders and delivering them (with donated pails) to members of their community for a snow-sculpting event. The results displayed the impressive creativity of Riverview townspeople.
This winter I’ve continued to add new supports to my website. There are more than 30 free how-to videos and other resources to guide you in the creation of small snow sculptures. I also added a new teacher resources page and a local school board has shown great interest in getting snow pounders out to their schools.
My goal is to spread the word that you can have loads of winter fun, even with non-packing snow!
Check out Matt’s website at snowbankproductions.weebly.com.
Next, check out this heartwarming winter fun gallery of Canadians enjoying the great outdoors.