Hippo Snow sculpting details

Inside the complete Hippo is snowman maker. I piled up all the remaining snow from my backyard the day before beginning the sculpture. The next day it hovered in the low thirties and we endured a freezing rain all day. My son had offered to help me sculpt after reading my most recent column in the Reader. I had offered to start a local snow sculpting competition called the "First Thaw." Although most people wouldn't consider freezing rain a thaw that is exactly what is was. the rain had formed a thin coat of ice on the surface of the snow but below the ice was several inches of sticky snow. It wasn't hard to pack snow around the original sculpture to make the butt and build up the front of the hippo. 

I had already tried to figure out how to use my limited snow to make a whole bunch of hippos some partially submerged in my yard. I only ended up with enough for the two here and the lettering for the new year. I had gotten the idea of a hippo at my sister's house. She had an old Christmas ornament with a yawning hippo. It was one my mother had made years ago when she was Mankato's favorite Christmas ornament maker. I figured that two hippos open mouths placed together would give the sculpture more stability and strength.

I helped my son build up the words first starting with "YEAR"  We piled up snow about five feet across and then took a shovel and shaved it to give it a flat surface to trace the letters. We did the same for the two rows of words above it.

Because it rained all day we were drenched and had to let our coats and clothing dry out in the basement all night. Still, we were warm as our cloths kept the moisture away from our skin.

We worked for three and a half hours from 2PM till about 5:30.