In a Red Deer County backyard, a unicorn and tiger laze, polar bears party, Snoopy snoozes and characters like Frozen’s beloved Olaf clown around.
Standing sentinel over this snow-carved menagerie is the dark knight himself — Batman.
The architect of this incredible winter wonderland just a few kilometres west of Red Deer is self-taught snow sculptor Amanda Swainson.
For weeks, the 30-year-old has painstakingly transformed columns of snow into all manner of characters pulled from fairy tales, video games and the animated movies from the likes of Disney and Pixar.
“She’s really ingenious. She just comes up with these projects,” says proud mother Deb Swainson.
It all started when Amanda bundled up and grabbed her gloves and went to give four-year-old niece, Lara Swainson, a hand with her snowman.
Thanks to Amanda’s ingenuity what emerged was not just your run-of-the-mill, everyday snowman. For Amanda, the possibilities her snow-blanketed yard held were irresistible.
“She just thought that was so much fun and she just kept going.”
A beloved golden retriever was the first creation that Amanda, who is on the autism spectrum, uncannily recreated in snow.
”She just started with this and it just kind of snowballed. It just snowballed into this really cool thing.”
Amanda’s artistic talents were no secret to her family. “She’s always had this beautiful ability to paint and draw.”
But her talent for seeing the life and joy hidden within piles of snow came as a surprise.
”They’re really, really fascinating,” she said. Many are further brought to life with a little careful spray painting.
Numerous children have stopped by to wander Amanda’s snow kingdom. It has added a little joy in the midst of a pandemic winter.
“Everyone who has seen them has just been blown away.”
“We’re all just trying to get through this winter that we are all living through. She has just chosen this outlet to have fun.
“It was a way that she could stay busy during COVID. She lives in the county and doesn’t drive, so it can be isolating.”
Alas, how long her imagination will remain frozen for all to see is up to Mother Nature.
“My fear is we’re going to have a big chinook and they’ll melt away.”