It’s not your typical winter dwelling in Flin Flon, but Trevor Altman’s latest creation is the realization of a childhood dream – a surprisingly spacious igloo on his front lawn.
Measuring 10 feet high, 14 feet in diameter and about 44 feet in circumference, this year’s creation is the largest igloo Altman has ever built.
“Right now, it’s structurally sound. It's too high for me to get on, but I'm sure if I climbed up there and jumped up and down, it wouldn't come down,” he said.
Altman started building igloos in 2014 when he was living in Carrot River. Since moving to Creighton five years ago, he’s built one somewhere every winter he can, only missing last year.
“When we moved here in 2015, I’ve been trying to make one every year here,” he said.
Growing up in Canada’s central prairie province, Altman enjoyed winter and all the outdoor activities that come with it.
“Maybe it’s the child in me. When I was a kid, I grew up on an acreage in Saskatchewan and I absolutely loved the winter and snow forts and I always wanted to build an igloo. I never had the opportunity,” he said.
“It’s hard to find snow to build an igloo. You need a certain type of snow. I got the idea of trying to freeze tubs of water.”
To build the igloos, Altman takes plastic tubs, fills them with water and freezes them. The resulting brick of ice is the main building material for the igloo. Altman and his cohorts created just over 600 bricks like this to build one structure – “I counted right before everyone came,” he said.
The ice bricks are stacked on top of each other, with snow acting as a makeshift mortar and water being sprayed onto the bricks to freeze them together.
This year’s igloo build was more ambitious than ones Altman attempted in the past. Scaffolding and ladders needed to be brought in to help construct in the later stages.
“My first igloo was really small, then I got bigger and then I added a couple things to it,” Altman said.
Finally, after six weeks of building, Altman opened the igloo up to the public.
Altman estimated around a dozen people were involved, either directly or indirectly, with building the cozy winter dwelling.
“Lots of people helped build. I would have all the tubs and make sure we had the ice blocks, but when I need help putting the blocks together, that’s when I bring people out to help me with it,” he said.
“Some helped me lots, some helped me little, but it was all a huge help because I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Standing upright in his igloo during the structure’s unveiling Jan. 24, Trevor Altman told friends, family and onlookers about a curious observation. The inside of the igloo is lit by a long string of LED lights – Altman buys the lights on Amazon, adding they can show off different colours. Altman said that, if a person stays inside the then-bright green igloo for long enough and goes outside or closes their eyes, they’ll see a pink hue.
Sure enough, due to something called the colour opponent process, when everyone inside wanders back outside, they see the exact colour opposite of the green light – bright hot pink on the normally white snow.
Altman said the reaction he’d received was overwhelmingly positive. One curious passerby took their phone out to show off to a family member in sunny Texas.
“One person was saying they were showing it to their friends in Mexico,” he said.
While the igloo is located on Altman’s own property, he doesn’t mind if people come by and have a look – provided they don’t ruin anything.
“If they come and look around and don’t wreck anything or leave garbage around, I’m more than happy for them to come. If they have questions and I’m out here, they can stop and ask me questions.”
Altman plans to make the igloo accessible to the public until the spring thaw hits.
“I’ll keep it open as long as it’s safe to do so. When it starts getting really warm, when we’re going to have some melting weather, then I’ll block it off so nobody can go in it,” he said.
The igloo is located on Creighton Avenue.