22. New England Creativity
Location: Bethel, Maine
Project: World’s largest snowwoman
Materials Used: Thirteen million pounds of snow; four fir wreaths (eyes); 16 alpine skis (eyelashes); wood, chicken wire, muslin (nose); five car tires (mouth); fleece (hat and scarf); rope (hair); three skidder tires (buttons); two 30-foot spruce trees (arms); 50 feet of 4-inch flexible pipe and 20 pounds of mica (pendant) time to assemble: Nearly two months
Inspiration: In 1999, Bethel’s local ski areas were facing a tough snow year. To boost excitement, townspeople came up with a sort of winter stimulus package, by embarking on the creation of the world’s tallest snowman. He was named Angus, after then-Governor Angus King. Nine years later, the community did it again, this time building a snowwoman named Olympia, after Senator Olympia Snowe.
The Process: To build Olympia, Sunday River Resort loaned the town its snow guns. More than 100 volunteers turned out for the project, which involved using a clamshell bucket on a crane to pile snow into a circular form made out of old metal highway signs. The size of the form was reduced as the crew worked its way up. “It was totally consuming,” says project engineer Jim Sysko. “We worked seven days a week.”
Best Part: People came from near and far to see Bethel’s snowwoman (which didn’t melt until midsummer). Olympia made it into The Guinness Book of World Records. “The goal was to lift the town’s spirits, and it worked,” Sysko says. “And it was quite a rush to stand atop her head when she was done, 122 feet in the air.”
For information on Dr. Yankielun’s book, How to Build an Igloo and Other Snow Shelters, and upcoming workshops, visit: doctorwhy.com