BETHEL – After besting Japan in 1999 by building the world’s tallest snowman – a record that still stands today – Bethel has decided to one-up itself this winter. Just for fun.

Oh, and more worldwide attention.

But instead of besting the 113-feet 7-inch tall “Angus, King of the Mountain” with another male, the opposite sex won out this time.

“Nobody’s broken our world’s tallest snowman record yet, so we thought it would be fun to do something different,” said Robin Zinchuk, executive director of the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce, on Friday afternoon.

The chamber, which is organizing the effort, is assembling logistics to pull off the feat. It’s expected to start on Jan. 22 and take up to 20 days to complete. The snowwoman will be built on the same lot as was Angus.

“We definitely learned a lot the first time around and that’s helping us know what we need to do. We really didn’t know what we were doing last time,” Zinchuk said.

On Feb. 17, 1999, after five months of planning and 15 days of snowman-building by hundreds of volunteers, Bethel broke the former record of 96 feet, 7 inches that had been held by Yagamata, Japan.

As much as possible, natural snow was used then. Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry also made snow and trucked it to the site, complementing snow made on-site with the resort’s snow guns. It took 2,430 tons of snow that was stacked higher each day using a Bancroft Contracting Co. crane with a clam-shell bucket to lift the 3,700 bucket loads of snow.

Angus sported 4-foot fir wreaths for eyes, a 6-foot-long nose, a mouth made from five automobile tires, 25-foot-tall spruce trees for arms, and three skidder-tire buttons six feet in diameter. He was topped with a 20-foot-tall fleece quilted hat and wore a 100-foot-long multicolored fleece scarf.

Angus didn’t entirely melt away until June 10.

This time, organizers have a much tighter budget at $25,000 and are looking for sponsors.

Fashion ideas being tossed around for the snowy giantess include making a skirt out of snow, adding a pink scarf and painting tires lipstick red for her mouth.

Bethel engineer Jim Sysko will again lead the construction team, with assistance from other Angus builders, Sunday River’s engineer Joe Aloisio and long-time snowmaker Bill Brown. Sysko and crew will be testing a new snowmaking method that’s expected to decrease manual labor.

“We’re hoping to use Boyne’s new fan gun. It’s technically efficient and can make a lot more snow quickly,” Zinchuk said of Sunday River’s new owner, Michigan-based Boyne USA.

The chamber hasn’t settled on a name for the snowwoman. Instead, it might hold a naming contest. Angus was named after then Maine Gov. Angus King by a disc jockey at WBLM radio station in Portland.

“I haven’t heard from Angus (King) yet, but I’m sure he will be thrilled that we’re doing it again. He’s all about doing fun things,” Zinchuk added.


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