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

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Snowman record attempt fell short

Poor condition of snow made it difficult to roll and build


Valdez Star photo

An attempt by Valdez to break the world record for the number of snowmen built in an hour fell shy last week. The lack of quality snow is cited for the shortfall.

Valdez was short 187 snowmen in Friday's attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the most snowmen built in one hour.

Over 240 people registered with Parks & Rec Friday afternoon to participate in the attempt at building 2000 snowmen in one hour, which would break the current record held by Salt Lake City, which set a record of 1,279 back in 2011.

It wasn't for lack of trying. Scores hit the snowfields, armed with stick arms, straws, carrots, dyed water, shovels and determination to hit the goal of 2000 snowmen.

Despite having over 200 inches of snowfall this winter season, the quality of the 42 inches of snow depth is poor according to popular consensus. The three and half feet of standing snow is somewhat rotted, heavy and dry. It doesn't hold together well like fresh powder does in warm conditions.

In fact, the city's fire department spent a good part of Friday hosing down the snowfields on the spit in hopes for improving the quality of the snow stockpiled at the former site of the Sea Otter RV Park.

"I'm confident we'll smash it next year," said Darryl Verfaillie, parks and rec director. "I think, annihilate it, actually."

Verfaillie said organizers are also considering a second attempt, perhaps flash-mob style, if a decent snowfall of good quality comes before winter's end, especially with the near-success of Friday's attempt and the experience gained in organizing the event.

"I think we'll be better equipped to deal with it," he said.

Valdez Star photo

Under the eagle eyes of local judges, visiting National Guard members from Arizona got in on the snowman building action in the Valdez attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest number of snowmen built in an hour.

To qualify as a legitimate snowman, Guinness guidelines state that part of the snowman must be rolled in snow, be at least three feet tall and have arms, eyes and nose and mouth.

As organizer Sarah Owen noted during the attempt, "They don't need to be perfect, the just need to qualify."

Verfaillie said he'd contacted Guinness World Book before the event to make sure official record verification could be met locally, without flying in an official adjudicator at a cost of $6,000 per day.

So keep your ears – and snowman building supplies – open and ready in case a better snow opportunity arises in the coming days and weeks to make a second attempt at setting a new snowman building record.

It is, as Verfaillie noted, a matter of community pride.


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