Over the years, Ian Purdy has carved a giant lion, the head of Homer Simpson and a variety of other unique snowmen.
This winter, he went with a more Norse theme, building a nine-foot tall Viking in his front yard.
“When I went out there, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do,” Purdy admitted Tuesday.
“I thought I’d make myself a big, gladiator-type guy. Then I thought, ‘a Viking, that’d be cool.’ ”
With that in mind, and knowing it would take a lot of snow to bring his giant warrior to life, he waited for the first good dump of snow to start construction, which came in late December.
“It was mild, and you need the snow to stick,” he said.
But he spent a month collecting enough snow to do the job. He shoveled his driveway two or three times, cleared snow from the street in front of his house, and even took from his neighbours.
“To build a pile that big, I’m almost 59 years old. It wears me good,” he said.
Then he began creating the Viking, putting in time on weekends or between jobs. Purdy is a self-employed electrician.
A neighbour figures Purdy spent more than 10 hours building the Viking — a hulking figure bent down on one knee. A leg and boot are exposed, and a cloak, helmet and beard are clearly visible.
“The detail is the difficult part. That’s what takes the time,” he said.
Purdy didn’t sculpt a sword, saying something like that wouldn’t last. He planned to make a weapon out of Styrofoam and stick it in one hand.
Connie Miller lives across the street and enjoys watching Purdy build his creations. She said he works mostly at night, so there is something new to see every morning.
“It’s absolutely phenomenal. We thoroughly enjoy it,” she said.
With temperatures expected to rise to 6 C by the end of the week, Purdy is worried the Viking won’t last long. He’s always sorry to see one of his creations melt away.
But he intends to keep at it, saying he likes building something new almost every winter.
“I’m an artist by heart,” he said.
Miller said Purdy’s talent shines through with every snowman.
“He’s the only reason I like lots of snow,” she said.