Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Snowmen, then & now January 25, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , , ,
The Hoisington family's 2016 snowman.

The Hoisington family’s 2016 snowman.

FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS, I’ve photographed the over-sized snowmen sculpted in the Hoisington family’s yard in the heart of Faribault at 18 Third Avenue Northwest.


Snowman, 11 head close-up


This year I braved double digit below zero windchills on a bitterly cold Sunday afternoon to document a sculpture that brings me joy.


Snowman, 10 close-up


A snowman hearkens to carefree days of childhood, when I actually loved winter. It brings memories of laboring with my siblings to roll snow into monumental balls. Three snowballs stacked atop each other to build our version of Frosty.

Snowmen and snow days. Snowdrifts hard as granite. Snow bucked into piles by Dad behind the John Deere tractor and loader. Imaginary mountains upon which we raced as Canadian Mounties.

Boots crunching on snow, the sharp sound slicing the quiet of the Minnesota prairie. Noses dripping. Cheeks flaming red. Fingers numbing through too thin gloves.

These are my winter memories, elicited by photographing a snowman.

What are yours?

FYI: Click here to view last year’s snowman pix. And click here to see my photos from 2014.

Check back tomorrow to see another notable snowman gracing a Faribault yard just blocks from the Hoisington snowman.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


31 Responses to “Snowmen, then & now”

  1. Dan Traun Says:

    Soaking-wet snowmobile suits with soggy moon boots from sledding all day long; thankfully the feet where wrapped in bread bag.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    How cute. I should have made a snowman here! There is still time as the snow is not going anywhere and we are still snowbound. Hoping today the driveway gets cleared but not going to hold my breath. The good thing is it is going to be 50 + degrees soon!

  3. Some of my memories are sledding and then snowmobiling. Playing in the snow with my dog Oliver and every once in a while he would steal one of my gloves and run off with it. He would bring it back to me eventually all slobbered. Pond skating and have the scraps on the palms of my hands and knees to prove it – pond skating is rough – ha! Ahhh the memories – I do not miss the cold though. Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  4. Almost Iowa Says:

    On the coldest days, we played a game called squish. All the kids on the playground, and there were almost 4,000 of us, formed a massive scrum and pushed toward the center to stay warm.

    We also played “King of the Snow Mound” on the hills formed by the snowplows clearing the playground, at least until someone broke a leg or arm – and that happened with surprising regularity.

  5. Littlesundog Says:

    My memories are much the same as yours. We chopped squares out of the crunchy and firm snow and made forts, and of course snowball fights ensued. Dad mounded up the snow as high as some of our outside buildings, and King on the Mountain was a favorite game… although it usually ended up in some kind of tussle and someone getting hurt! 😀

  6. Sweet Posy Dreams Says:

    What a happy snowman! We didn’t have much in the way of winters in Tennessee and Georgia, but when we lived in Germany, we had a lot of fun sledding down the hill behind our apartment building. It was a U.S. government neighborhood, filled with kids. We had a lot of fun living there. My brother, though, has a more painful memory. He had a sled crash and cut his leg with one of the steel runners. It was a four or five inch gash that required stitches.

  7. treadlemusic Says:

    Building snow igloos (of course, that was before all the warnings that such play could be hazardous to one’s health and cause bodily injury, or worse, if it should collapse) and tunneling in those huge drifts that so perfectly iced over (once I helped the situation out by throwing water on top in preparation!——had to be frigid cold!). Ah yes!!! The days before bicycle helmets and other such dire warnings. Days of cardboard and saucer sliding escapades……totally carefree!!!!!!

  8. Jean Says:

    I remember one time when I was young, we were snowed in but Dad had to get to Lamberton so he and I (not sure how much help I was) shoveled our fairly long driveway. The snow was way above my head on both sides. We didn’t have any equipment for the tractor at that time. And when he came back home the wind had been blowing and we had to shovel him back in again. Not sure if I would call it the good old days or not. And my Grandparents told how they made sure they had a supply of yard light bulbs so if the drifts got big enough they could climb on top of the drift and change the bulb in the light. I don’t miss those kind of snows as I get older. As kids we thought it was great. No school for a week.

  9. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Love the snow man

  10. Don Says:

    Oh now you opened the memory chest! Remember snow boots with metal buckles half of which were always broken, toboggans which were always much faster than sleds, wearing multiple layers of pants and long johns before the advent of sno machine suites, snow drifts wind driven so hard that you could walk over fences, cars and even buildings, listening to WCCO radio to hear school closings due to snow storm, forming a group of kids to go snow shoveling and thus earn some extra money for ourselves, hot chocolate with marshmallows after being outside all day, dad doing brodies with the car, and all the other things that others have already mentioned! Ah youth………………………….

  11. Thread crazy Says:

    Love your snowman…besides the memories of wet gloves and cold noses, my brother and I always built snowmen together. Besides helping to “roll” the ball, I had to root around for twigs for arms n stones fir eyes, etc. Great memories.

  12. Sue Ready Says:

    Fun photos and one of the things I lke best about living in Midwest peole know how to make the best of situations, and get outside. Just think of the snowmans being built out east while they wait to get plowed out.

  13. Jackie Says:

    Walking up the LONG pasture hill with a toboggan that carried 5 at a time all the way down the hill. Snowmobiling with friends, playing until we were froze, our mittens completely wet and frozen, couldnt feel our toes and eating snow….those are a few of my memories….and I still love winter!

  14. Jen Barkus Says:

    How does one build this snowman? We are from SD and drive past to Shattuck to see the snowman. Just amazing and the wonder how you build it.
    Jen Barkus

    • An article in the Faribault Daily News states that Andy Hoisington builds the entire snowman by hand using a shovel. When it gets too high, he climbs a ladder to work.

      Thanks for stopping by from South Dakota and welcome to Faribault.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.