Christmas and New Years are great and all, but winter is never completely satisfying until you have made a snowman. I have made a lot of snowmen in my life, so below I impart some basic snowman wisdom.
Not all snow is created equal. The best kind of snow to make a snowman is somewhere between powder and slush. Too powdery, and the snow doesn’t hold together. Too slushy and it loses form. If you get a lot of snow during the night, wait a couple hours the next day for the sun to go to work and give it a little melt. When you can take a handful of snow and smoosh it together to make a snowball, the snow is ready to be made into (wo)men.
The Middle is the Crux
Nothing is worse than getting the perfect base, then rolling up the perfect middle ball, only to realize you can’t lift it. But rest assured, if you can somehow magic the middle ball up on its perch, you are pretty much home-free. So don’t give up!
There are a couple ways to get around this dilemma. First, I recommend rolling the second ball near or around your base. That way, you don’t have to roll it towards the base when you are done, making it bigger and heavier than you intended. Do a test lift every couple rolls to make sure you are up to the task. If all else fails, get someone to help, or build a snow ramp.
Get Creative or Go Zen
Like with carving pumpkins, sometimes the best snowmen are the classic ones. If you don’t have any inspiring ideas, don’t be afraid to go classic. Making a snowman is about the journey not the destination. Its about having fun being out in the outdoors in the winter. A good ol’ classic 3 ball, sticks for arms, rocks for eyes, scarf around the neck snowman is as good and satisfying as any.
But if you have a wave of inspiration, or you want to try something new and different, go for it! Spoof up your snowman, make it something unique and original. Not enough snow? Tiny snowmen are adorable, and easy to manage! Stranded on the beach? Screw sand castle, make a sandman!
The Face and Arms
Sometimes I build the perfect snow body, only to realize I don’t have any rocks or sticks nearby with which to make the arms and face. Worry not! There are tons of things you can substitute.
If I can’t find any rocks or pine-cones, sometimes I will use twigs, like those found in mulch, or leaves. Even a handful of well placed dirt can work in a pinch. The key though, with the more delicate materials, is to dig some grooves for them first. You may have to use a light touch of snow around the edges or sides to sort of ‘weld’ them in, and make sure they stay secure.
The arms are real fun. Sticks, obviously are the best, but there are a ton of creative things you can use instead. If you have any garden decorations that stick up out of the ground, like a decorative pinwheel, these make great, fun and adorable arms for a snowman. No luck in that department? Got any decorative swords, or unused curtain rods? Really anything long and thin can work for arms. A broom or mop maybe? A flyswatter even? Spatulas? With enough imagination, you can find some arms.
Taking the extra time to make your snowman especially shapely is always worth it. I usually have the 3 balls of my snowman up within the first 15-20 minutes. But the next hour I spend packing snow in between the balls to keep them sturdy, and evening out the ’roundness’ of the balls. If you are going for a less traditional shaped snowman, or simply need some extra sculpting assistance, the ice scraper from your car can be especially helpful in this step.