A 25-year hobby has turned an Eckville yard into a colourful snow park.
The backyard attraction built by Dolan Baxter boasts four snow saucer slides, a snow bowl, a skating rink and a zip line.
Baxter said he started constructing snow parks as a kid, when he and his friends would build big hills at his grandparents’ farm to learn how to snowboard.
He said he continued to build parks over the years, and he has been creating one in his yard pretty much every year since the move to his current home about 10 years ago.
“Every year, we change it up a bit. Sometimes, there’s tunnels and stuff,” explained Baxter.
In mid-December, Baxter started to construct this season’s snow park by hand with shovels, using snow he had hauled over with his truck and toboggans.
The yard changes over the course of winter, as snow continues to fall. With each snowfall, the park needs to be cleaned back down to bare ice, resulting in change as the new snow is utilized around the park.
Change also comes whenever he gets bored and hauls more snow over with his truck, said Baxter.
“I’m just a big kid,” said Baxter with a laugh about his long-time hobby.
New this year is the zip line that runs across the width of the park, and the Christmas lights built into the walls.
“You should see how many people drive by here in the middle of the night,” said Baxter. “We get lots of random people that just stop in the yard, too, and take pictures.”
The park is a big hit for the kids, especially at the yearly birthday party held for his daughter in February.
Helmets are mandatory for all kids playing in the yard and most parents have to sign a waiver.
“It’s not different than any ski resort… I don’t want to see anybody getting hurt,” added Baxter. “Luckily, we’ve never had anybody hurt.”