The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Record snowfall deserves record snowman

Group pushes for Guinness World Record in the coming weeks


Photo courtesy of Greater Bethel, Maine Chamber of Commerce

This is Olympia Snowwoman. At 122-plus feet high, she is the current record holder as the world’s tallest Snowwoman. She lived and melted in Bethel, Maine in 2008.

A group led by the student services director from Prince William Sound Community College is leading an effort in Valdez to build the world’s largest snowman – complete with a prestigious stamp of approval by the Guinness World Book of Records.

Why not says Ronnie Houchin, who is also the manager of student housing at the college. Record snow deserves a record snowman.

Current bragging rights to having built the world’s largest snowman – which in this case was a 122 foot tall snowwoman – is held by Bethel, Maine. It was built in 2008 and was created using artificial snow. Houchin and other boosters think Valdez can –and should – do better.

“We’ve just got to figure out some of the logistics behind it,” Houchin said. “We started some tentative plans back in December.”

Houchin said students of PWSCC had wanted to try for a world record snowman last winter, but a decidedly humdrum snow season put the kibosh on the idea. On March 5, 2011, Valdez had a snow depth of only 25 inches, compared to this year, which had a snow depth of 88 inches.

“The snow just really didn’t come last year,” Houchin said.

This year’s snowfall – 409 inches so far with more falling – makes a record snowman attempt a natural.

Except for those pesky logistics.

Houchin approached the Valdez City Council Monday night asking for city assistance with the project. The group is hoping the city can help with the project by donating equipment and labor. It also asked for $10,000 to pay for a representative from Guinness to come to Valdez to certify the yet-to-be-built snowman as the world’s largest.

The council denied the funding request by a vote of 5-2, but did not prohibit city help with the project.

Valdez Star photo

This snow pile across from City Hall is 42 feet high. To break the current world record, Valdez will need to build a snowman over 122 feet high.

There is a process that record breakers can use to get their projects certified without paying for a Guinness representative’s travel expenses and fees.

Larry Weaver, public works director for the city is excited about the project, but says safety issues and manpower availability will determine how, if and when the city will help out with the project.

“We’ll do what we can do,” Weaver said in a telephone interview Tuesday morning. “It’s always fun to play with the snow around here.”

Houchin said the group hopes to complete the project March 18, in conjunction with Frosty Fever. A spot on the Park Strip, partly on city land and partly on college property, has been tentatively chosen.

“We’re really hopeful,” he said.


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