BETHEL – Tuesday’s snowstorm, which blanketed Bethel with six unexpected inches, delayed by a day the start of construction of the world’s tallest snowwoman.

Instead, Bancroft Corp. of Paris assembled its 82-ton 150-foot crane and clam-shell bucket beside the project’s 20-foot-high base, then practiced lifting snow with it.

Additionally, a handful of volunteers, including project engineer Jim Sysko of Newry, assembled 64 four-foot-square, orange wooden road-construction signs cabled and braced together to form an 81½-foot-diameter ring.

That ring, expected to be lifted into place atop the base by 1 p.m. today, will be used to hold the first of 25 layers of the millions of pounds of snow to be shoveled and stomped into place by volunteers.

The project’s goal is 120 feet, which will best Bethel’s previous world’s tallest snowman, Angus. He stood 113 feet, 7 inches when completed on Feb. 17, 1999, a record that still stands.

“Of all things, we’re delayed by a snowstorm,” volunteer coordinator Colleen Files said on site.

Volunteers who stopped by on Tuesday to stomp snow were told to return today.

“We’ll call the troops in tomorrow to shovel and stomp snow for the next two weeks and then some,” Robin Zinchuk, executive director of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce, said.

Once they get past the wider and lower levels, “we’ll average two layers a day, if we know what we’re doing,” Sysko said. “At the top (for Angus), we were getting three to four layers a day, but at the bottom, we’ll have one layer for several days.”

To achieve the height and needed stability, the snowwoman will be built like a giant layer cake that tapers off toward the top. For that feminine look, hips instead of breasts will be attempted.

“We’re going to try (for hips), but it might be Twiggy,” Sysko said, referring to a 1960s pop icon known for her thin build.

Last week, Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry supplied the snowmaking equipment and staff to create much of the 12 million pounds of snow needed for construction. Three tower guns and three Boyne Low Energy fan guns were used.

The Boyne guns can make snow using less compressed air than traditional equipment and are more effective at warmer temperatures.

“The timing of the project was great since we recently received a shipment of 15 new fan guns,” Bill Brown, lead snowmaking consultant on the project, stated in a Monday report. “Making the snow for the snowwoman project allowed us to gain valuable experience with this new technology, which we will be using more of in the coming years” at the Newry resort.

The snowwoman design will incorporate several aesthetic touches to convey her gender, including torso shape, red lips, eyelashes and the world’s largest Maine mica pendant.

Sysko and Zinchuk said the rest of the snow, if needed, will be taken from a large pile at nearby Bethel Regional Airport and trucked to the site.

“We were really lucky to get the snow we got today, because a couple of days ago, (weather forecasters) said today it would be 50 degrees (Fahrenheit) and raining,” Zinchuk said.


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