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You can’t help but smile at Snowzilla

In: Snowzilla Articles

6 Dec 2009

Snowzilla's home in the winter

Snowzilla's home in the winter

Well, let’s hope by the time this column prints, we will have seen the last of the snow fall for this season. Then again, you never know what will happen in our area. Some seasons we barely get enough to cover the ground; other seasons we have white stuff piled up and weather cold enough to keep it intact for weeks.

If you’re talking about Alaska, however, you can count on having a lot of snow.

The average snowfall each season in Anchorage is 57 inches. The record snowfall there is 111 inches. That’s enough to make one heck of a snowman, and that’s just what Billy Ray Powers of Anchorage and his children did in 2005.

Their snowman was so big that they used up all the snow in their yard. Then they used snow from neighbors’ yards, filling buckets and pulling them to his house by sled. When the 16-foot-tall giant was done, with beer bottle eyes and holes drilled to insert arms, he was given a name — Snowzilla.

The mammoth snowman showed up bigger and better in 2006 and was on his way to returning in 2008. In December, while Snowzilla was under construction, Powers was given a cease-and-desist order from the Anchorage city council. It seems Snowzilla had attracted lots of attention and traffic. It was becoming a public nuisance; the city was concerned Snowzilla would collapse and injure an innocent bystander.

Then, just before Christmas, the lump of snow in his yard was transformed overnight into the largest Snowzilla yet at 25 feet tall. Powers didn’t take credit for the construction. He claimed it must have been the magic in that old silk hat causing completion in just hours of the giant that usually takes a month to construct.

Last time I checked, Snowzilla was still standing, though dirtier and leaner than in December. Powers insisted his intent was to spread joy, by putting together the snowman with his seven children and by putting smiles on the faces of those who visited him.

Here I am, thousands of miles away and the story still puts a smile on my face as it has with each snowflake I have seen fall since I heard this story. Take a look at him yourself ( and see if you can do it without smiling!

The opinions expressed are solely the writer’s. Carrie Steinweg, mother of five, lives in Lansing. Her column alternates with that of Schererville mom Rebecca Bailey. Reach her at


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