Vanessa Hildreth has been building snow sculptures in her front yard each winter over the last six years.
This year’s sculpture is Snowgopogo, a snow rendition of the Okanagan’s famed sea monster. Hildreth says she’s built Snowgopogo for the last few years, but she has also created giant turtles, lizards, and once even had an ogre rising up from the ground, with just his arms and torso.
Snowgopogo rises out of the snow on Hildreth’s front lawn on the 700-block of Vaughan Street in Quesnel as if it were a real sea monster rising from the water.
Hildreth says if she doesn’t spend enough time outdoors in the winter, she suffers from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). She started the sculptures as a way to get herself outside and busy.
She says it usually takes around 20 hours to complete a sculpture, and she breaks it up over a period of several days.
“I just go out, and I get hyper-focused, and I just go for a few hours at a time,” she says.
Hildreth comes up with the design as she goes and often ends of changing or adjusting it each day.
“Sometimes I add spikes,” she says, “or change the shape of the face if it isn’t good enough.”
In the past, Hildreth has tried using food colouring on the sculpture, but she says it melts too fast to use.
For the most part, the community loves it. Many people walk past — especially those with young kids — to take a look or grab a photo. She’s had to get creative to prevent the sculpture from being destroyed in the past, however.
Hildreth says last year, someone knocked the sculpture down in the middle of the night. Instead of rebuilding on her lawn, she recreated Snowgopogo on the roof of her garage to foil any future attempts at destruction. This year, at least, Snowgopogo seems to be standing strong.