Building snowmen in the winter is a common activity. But a snowman in Guilderland stands as tall as the house behind it.
Scott Leininger had help from his daughter, Grace, and his wife’s cousin, Kyle, in constructing the gigantic snow creation.
“We just decided to build a snowman bigger than anyone else in town,” Leininger said about his motivation. Though he didn’t measure the snowman, the hat reaches the top of their roof. He estimated the snowman to be between 15 and 18 feet tall and the same in width at the base. “Everybody seems to like it,” Leininger said. “It causes quite a traffic jam on the street.”
Leininger has been accumulating the snow for the project since the first snowfall of the season. “I plowed the snow on the street … and then made a big pile on the lawn,” he said. On Sunday, he started carving to get the snowman to its current shape. “It took pretty much all day to get it to where it is now,” he said.
The snowman takes up nearly his entire front lawn.
Leininger, who owns his own landscaping company based out of Guilderland, said, “I have the machines to do it and I am not very busy in the winter.” He used a skidsteer, which has a bucket on the end, to scoop the snow. Then he used a snowblower to make the snow better for packing.
Though the Leiningers have lived in their house on Evelyn Drive for five years, last year marked the first snowman project. Now, said Leininger, “It’s going to be a yearly thing.” Last
winter the snowman was about half the size. “We went a little crazy this year, but we had a lot of snow,” he said.
The objects used to decorate the snowman put the size into perspective. The eyes are paint can lids, the mouth is a swimming noodle, the pipe is a whiffle ball bat with a bucket on the end and the nose is a traffic cone. The hat is made of 4-inch-thick black drainage pipe, coiled up. The scarf is made from a plastic tablecloth and the arms from long scraps of wood.
Grace Leininger, 7, helped with the face, specifically the nose. On Monday, her classmates saw the snowman from the bus, as Grace is the last student picked up on her route. “They liked it,” Grace said with a smile.
As for his wife, Melissa, Leininger laughed as he turned to his daughter. “She thinks we’re a little crazy, right?” Grace giggled. Leininger and his wife have been married 10 years.
This snowman is not only huge, it is festive. “We put a heart on it for Valentine’s Day,” said Leininger. “We are thinking of decorating it for Saint Patrick’s Day with a green hat and a shamrock to make it look like a leprechaun,” he added. Kyle, who is in his mid-20s, had the idea of giving the snowman Abraham Lincoln’s beard for Presidents Day.
Leininger said building the snowman is something fun for him and his only daughter to do together. Grace said she likes climbing the snowman. “I climb down to this point,” she said as she pointed to the bottom portion of the snowman, “and then someone lifts me down.”
Asked if the snowman will continue to grow in size next year, Leininger said, “I don’t know. You can only get so far, but it is fun.
“Maybe next year we’ll make two,” he said.
Grace exclaimed optimistically, “If we get a good snowfall.”