Manitoba’s record-breaking snow maze captures winter’s whimsical charm

ST. ADOLPHE, Man. — It doesn’t take a master sleuth to figure out why people are braving the winter prairie winds and snow to flock to a field south of Winnipeg.

Bright white walls on a flat field hold within a wintry puzzle — the world’s largest snow maze.

The 2,789-metre-squared snow maze located about 30 kilometres south of Manitoba’s capital in St. Adolphe achieved the Guinness World Record honour during its first season open last winter.

Owner Clint Masse says the sections of wall are two feet wide and more than six feet tall. They appear almost as thick and dense as the walls surrounding medieval castles.

“It’s crazy,” Masse admits with a laugh.

“I think every eight foot of wall we needed about four cubic yards of snow packed.”

Even when the cold wind howls outside, Masse said the height and density of the walls keep people warm as they feel their way through.

Dressed in their winter finest — snow pants, boots, toques and mittens — around 20,000 people made their way down the paths, into dead ends and finally out the exit of the maze during the first year.

The maze is built on top of the Masse family’s other big summer attraction — A Maze in Corn. The giant corn maze, hay bale pyramid and petting zoo have been running on the family’s property for more than 20 years. They also have added zip lines and a haunted forest.

In Manitoba, people are always looking for a way to get outside while staying warm once the temperatures drop, Masse said. A colleague told him about a different snow maze in Thunder Bay and he figured, with a corn maze already established, it would be a natural transition.

Masse decided if he was going to do it, he’d do it big. Before the snow began to fall, he contacted Guinness.

Things weren’t quite as easy as he initially planned, Masse added with a hearty chuckle, but there was no turning back.

First the maze was designed. Then, Masse said, once the snow came crews used concrete-forming tools, tractors and a snow maker to start forming the walls.

“The first day you know we did probably 40 feet of wall. I thought that was pretty good,” Masse said. “But then 40 feet of wall means that we are here until about June.”

Their techniques were refined, they moved more quickly and crews worked 10-hour days until, finally, the record-breaking masterpiece was made. It was proclaimed as the largest snow maze by Guinness World Records after being measured Feb. 10, 2019.

Masse said this year they were more prepared, and brought on some extra employees, so the maze came up a lot faster and there were no concerns whether they’d be ready for opening day at the start of January.

People focused solely on getting to the end take about 20 to 30 minutes to exit the maze. Those who get turned about or are just having a lot of fun inside will be in there a lot longer.

“It’s a little bit whimsical,” Masse said.

This year Masse also added a large snow hill for sliding down and a gigantic igloo where people can get coffee, hot chocolate and hot toddies.

Masse said they’ve had visitors from all over Canada and the United States who have come to the area specifically for the magic of being in a snow maze.

“I like the look on people’s faces because they are just like, ‘Wow!’ Their eyes are wide open, and they are like ‘Holy smokes. It’s crazy,’” he said.

Sharing the family’s love for epic mazes is important, Masse said, but what they truly appreciate is how it’s become a point of community pride. He runs it with his wife and children, his neighbour is his bookkeeper, and it’s not uncommon to see friends stopping by to help during the season.

“If you drop a pin, within a mile, everyone’s kids have worked on it.”

Masse said it’s not just his family’s record-holding maze, it’s Manitoba’s.

IF YOU GO:

— The snow maze is located on the A Maze In Corn property on St Mary’s Road, about a 10 minute drive south of Winnipeg’s Perimeter Highway.

— The maze is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Sleigh Rides run only on the weekend for $3 a ride.

— Admission is $12 for those ages 13 and older, $10 for children 4-12, and free for those three and younger.

— The snow maze is open January, February and part of March (weather permitting).

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

travel

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Seven-year-old dies and her mother and two brothers are injured in trailer fire

Fire started shortly after 1 a.m. and took four hours to put out

Racist videos targeting Maskwacis are under investigation

Video images of what appears to be teenagers issuing racist and sexist… Continue reading

Red Deer County residents decry lack of public consultation over ‘enormous’ river water withdrawals

Noise, light, diesel emission complaints were made to the Alberta Energy Regulator

Woman no longer co-accused in 2019 Red Deer murder

Preliminary hearing of co-accused in murder began on Friday and resumes next month

Red Deer Mayor says city council’s advocacy isn’t over with shelter and hospital funding gains

Additional Crown prosecutors are still at the top of Tara Veer’s list

Fashion Fridays: Tammy’s big makeover

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

Canadian-Indians worry for their families as riots break out in India

Naila Saeed could do nothing but worry from afar when rioters descended… Continue reading

Public health agency weighs stronger COVID-19 protection for front-line workers

OTTAWA — The Public Health Agency of Canada says it will consult… Continue reading

Ukraine pledges help for airline compensation for Iran plane crash victims

OTTAWA — Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada says his government will help Foreign… Continue reading

Saskatchewan premier won’t commit to fall election; cites national unrest

ESTEVAN, Sask. — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says rail blockades and the… Continue reading

Suspect charged with first-degree murder in death of 13-year-old Quebec girl

ST-JEROME, Que. — Friends and family of a teenage girl whose body… Continue reading

Tories call on government to compensate dairy farmers ‘left behind’ in new NAFTA

OTTAWA — The Conservative opposition says the government must compensate dairy farmers… Continue reading

Red Deer Construction Association honours local builders

5th annual Commercial Construction Awards took place on Thursday evening

Most Read