Do You Wanna Build a Snow Lion?

A couple months ago Stan took the girls to the movie theatre see Frozen; their very first full-feature on the big screen. (We’d been to IMAX several times but they’d never seen a regular ol’ movie at the theatre before.) Despite the fact Susanna spent a large portion of the show in the lobby, too overwhelmed by the pictures but still straining to hear the soundtrack, and that neither girl decided to wear the 3-D glasses provided–the fuzzy picture offered a sense of detachment from the action–the money was well spent. They’ve passed hours re-hashing the story line and singing the theme songs. Do You Wanna Build a Snow Man… or Let it Go, Let it Go! are some of lyrics I still hear constantly–and I mean constantly in the way that someone blinks or breathes. I’ve actually gotten to the point where I’ve banned all melodic noise from our home. When we started on our snow sculpture this weekend, Belén naturally substituted lion for man in their mantra (don’t worry–the ban is lifted periodically). Here are some pictures of the process:


Belén had the idea… Stan started on it by making a small clay model first


The hardest part of the whole thing is getting enough clean snow into the mold. Stan shoveled the snow off our roof into a trailer and then shoveled it, again, into the box.


Once the snow sits in the mold for a week or two it is packed enough to carve. How Stan has the vision to see anything out of a block of snow is beyond me.


Once Stan gets the shape roughed in the rest of us start helping…


My favourite time to jump in is when it’s about 93% finished. I’m good at offering valuable criticism at this point.





One of the perks of having a snow lion in our front yard is meeting our community. Stan says he’s never talked to as many locals as he did the two days he was out carving. (We’ve also noticed that ethnic minorities, like First Nation, Filipino, and Indian passersby, appear the most interested.) People often stop, take pictures, or ask a few questions. Others roll down their windows and shout responses as they drive by. It’s reminded us that human beings connect through art–even amateur attempts–and feel compelled to express appreciation, and that’s hopeful. It means there’s something in the ratty lot of us that has an appetite for beauty, or a rough semblance of it, like a snow lion. And I suppose that explains my daughters compulsion to sing three songs over and over and over again…

Appreciative, but still in favour of the ban,



15 thoughts on “Do You Wanna Build a Snow Lion?

  1. Wow! That’s a great lion. How many sculptures has Stan made? I’d say he’s past amateur by now. I love your line “human beings connect through art”. Something I want to keep in mind!

  2. wow you are so lucky to get that much snow and be able to actually build something out of it without it melting. out here in portland that’s unheard of.

  3. I hope you don’t mind that I shared your post. This is so amazing!! Stan is a very creative and motivated guy especially in this cold climate!! How did the radio interview go? I would have liked to have heard it so if you have a clip somewhere, feel free to pass it on! :o) And of course, your writing about it, is also so creative and interesting!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Erika!! I thought he was a smashing success on the radio–the girls were so thrilled and nervous listening to him. Belén was pacing the whole time, biting her lips, hoping he wouldn’t mess up. I haven’t been able to get a hold of the recording; that’s very sweet of you to be interested.

  4. Wow, Tricia, this is impressive! We brought our girls see Frozen and it was also their first movie theater experiment (after having seen a few IMAX, just like you!) and they were a bit overwhelmed too…

    • Catherine and Tricia….have you been introduced?? Catherine, may I present one of my nearest and dearest lifelong friends, Tricia. And Tricia, Catherine is a lovely Yukon friend of mine (and an ever present inspiration in so many ways) who has now moved on to new adventures. How lovely for you to meet one another here!!!

      • Catherine and Marisa,
        This is so crazy. Canada is a small country! After I told Stan about finding your blog, Catherine, and then your comments on my blog (and what we have in common) my skeptical husband responded, “Well, just don’t give her any personal information.” I guess he’s right to be wary of internet creeps but it is so great that you’re a real person–and that you know Marisa. Marisa, thanks for providing the introduction! What fun!

  5. ha! Our kids saw Frozen in the theatre too as their first movie! So Canadian. 🙂
    Stan is a genius, I can’t believe how BIG and detailed it is! Very well done!

  6. Tricia, I keep returning to look at those amazing pictures of Stan’s creation. And for some reason I also look at the look on Stan’s face as he is hurling the snow into that huge box! Art … it can be painful and a lot of work, but so worth it. Your girls are growing up with such amazing stories that they are going to be able to tell.

    By the way … Ava asked me to get the music to Frozen, so now amongst Bach & Beethoven, I am learning “Let it Go,” “Do you Want to Build a Snowman?”, “For the First Time,” and “Love is an Open Door.”

    Take Care.

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