As the snow started falling Sunday, some people were staying warm inside, but the Forrester family decided to do something different.
Ruby Forrester said she and her husband Andy, their two children, Quin and Leele, and their two international students spent most of Sunday building a nearly eight-foot igloo outside of their Vancouver Island home in Parksville.
When it snows, Ruby said, a lot of people “hunker down inside,” but she said she didn’t want to waste the opportunity.
“We wanted to do that, but at the same time, it barely snows like this and I don’t want the kids to think that it’s just a time to lay around,” Ruby said.
So, the family got to work.
Ruby said she and Andy put most of the snow blocks together while Leele did most of the shovelling and transporting the snow to the igloo. Ruby said the only tools they used were a saw to cut some of the snow blocks, a cooler to shape the snow blocks and sled to transport the snow.
For the first two or three levels of snow blocks, Ruby said, Andy used the full cooler-sized blocks of snow. She said as the igloo grew, Andy would cut the blocks in half.
The hardest part, Ruby said, was getting to the top of the igloo. She said she and Andy had to use a ladder to finish the igloo.
At the end, she said, they sprayed the igloo inside and out with water so it would freeze.
Ruby said the family worked from about 11 a.m. to nearly 5 p.m. and then went inside for dinner for a couple of hours before going back outside to finish up the construction.
“Just that difference of going in for a couple of hours and stopping and then coming back out to find more snow, it changed the texture of the snow,” Ruby said. “It was too cold and so the snow wouldn’t pack properly. It was too light and fluffy.”
But, Ruby said, the family finished the igloo because Leele wanted to.
This is not the first igloo the family has built in the community. After they moved to Parksville from Victoria nine years ago, there was a big snowfall that year and they decided to build an igloo. Ruby said at that time, Leele was so young she could barely watch, so they made a chair out of snow for her to look on from while they built the first igloo.
Leele, now 11, said because she was so young the first time, she wanted to be a part of the process this time.
“I barely remember the first time we built one, so I wanted to remember this one,” Leele said.
Ruby said the family planned to set up Christmas lights around the igloo Tuesday night (Feb. 20), and hopefully sit inside with a hot chocolate.