Some Minnesotan’s see winter as a time to stay inside. Others – like the Smith family of Crystal – see it as an opportunity to connect with nature.
Tim Smith and his children Morgan, 7; Evan, 10 and Savannah, 11; have embraced Mother Nature and built a 30×12-foot snow fort that stands 6 feet tall in the front of their Crystal yard.
“We just enjoy the outdoors and I like teaching them about being outside and the changing seasons,” Smith said. “It’s about having fun all year round.”
The family has been sculpting the snow fort since before Christmas. What started out as a small snow fort has grown into three internal rooms with internal lighting, a glacier tunnel and a luge slide.
“It’s grown and grown,” Smith said.
Unlike most snow creations, the Smith’s fort wasn’t built from a piled-up mound of snow. Instead, they hand-built it and even harvested ice from the neighbor’s by loading up sleds and bringing ice chunks back home.
“It’s fun,” Savannah said on building the fort. “It’s been a lot of work to get the chunks of snow from around the neighborhood. It’s by far the best one we’ve had.”
During the week, the family spends a few hours playing outside and up to four hours on the weekend. Smith said his kids have been keeping him busy with the snow fort.
“They are coming to me and saying ‘Dad, can we go outside and play?’” Smith said. “It’s important for me. It’s quality time we can spend together.”
In the past, the Smith’s have always liked building forts, but with this season’s snow falls and temperature changes, the weather has provided days for Tim and his kids to perfect their creation.
“When it’s warm, that is the perfect time to sculpt,” Smith said. “We just put in windows, and it’s an immediate gratification.”
Food coloring allowed Smith to tint the opening of the fort green, which he said was for Superman’s Kryptonite and a favorite or Morgan’s.
“I like the tunnel to get in and the slide,” she said.
“I like the tunnel and snowboarding down the slide,” added Evan, who Smith said has been a big help in constructing the fort.
The Smith’s will continue building and perfecting their snow fort until “Mother Nature says it’s time to pack it in.”
“It’s all based on the snow fall and what Mother Nature has in store for us,” Smith said turning to his children. “Plus it’s a good memory, don’t you think, guys?”
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