It all started Friday night around 8:00. Kory Hoppes, Damon Varble and Ken Varnes decided to make a regular old snowman. They began by rolling snow down Dewitt Avenue in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria. But the snow was so heavy, the ball quickly gained so much mass that it weighed, they figured, about 400 pounds and measured nearly four feet across. They needed help.
Enter the neighbors. Liam and Eliza Malakoff watched as the three used their shoulders and their entire body weights and struggled to heave the massive ball over the curb and up onto the lawn in front of Karen Johnson's house. They made a second gigantic ball for the middle, but soon discovered there was no way they could lift it on top of the base. So they combined the two. The regular old snowman was becoming a behemoth. They worked until 12:45 early Saturday morning, using shovels and ladders. Finally, they hoisted the head, which weighed at least 100 pounds, into place, nearly toppling themselves off the ladder and the gigantic snowman in the process.
By the time they finished, they figured they'd created, not a snowman, but a snowzilla that towered at least twelve feet tall. (Higher, they figure, after sitting out all night as the snow continued to fall.) Proper measurements are yet to come today. By Saturday morning, the neighborhood came out to gawk and admire their work. Karen Johnson, builder Eliza Malakoff, neighbor John Reynolds and his children, Hudson and Malcolm frolicked around the huge snow icon. (Photos are by Eliza's mom, Amy Young.)
Next to come Saturday, the finishing touches: arms, eyes, nose, mouth, accessories. Belt? Traffic cone Hat? Not to mention the most important detail, the name. Right now, they're considering Helga George Washington because, for awhile, the head looked like the nation's first president, but the rest of the massive snowman resembled a buxom Scandanavian matron, they said. Have a suggestion? Send it to
Story Lab and we'll pass it on to the builders and post your suggestions, their final decision, and completed Snowzilla later today.
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