Stacking Up 'Snowmy': Minocqua puts finishing touches on 30-foot-tall snowman after three-year hiatusSubmitted: 02/15/2018
Story By Lane Kimble

Stacking Up 'Snowmy': Minocqua puts finishing touches on 30-foot-tall snowman after three-year hiatus
MINOCQUA - If you're going to make a giant snowman, grab your shovels, snow fencing, and... chainsaws?  That's how they get the job done in Minocqua.

"It's something else," volunteer worker Jim Hartwig said.

Thursday morning, Hartwig -- who owns the nearby Aqua Aire Motel -- carefully walked the second tier of the 30-foot-tall snowman outside the Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce to finish a creation that hasn't appeared in a while.

"Seeing all the people driving by and waving, you know everybody's looking," Hartwig said.

It's tough to miss this big guy along Highway 51, who goes by the name Snowmy Kromer. The Ironwood, Michigan hat manufacturer Stormy Kromer makes his size-96 hat won the namesake in 2008, but the tradition of building the huge Minocqua snowman goes back to the mid-1960s.

"We're all a little tired," Chamber Executive Director Krystal Westfahl said with a sigh.

Westfahl organized the build and did a lot of the work, which takes about three days. She says the toughest part is packing the snow down after an excavation company piled it up. Volunteers mainly do so using their feet.

"It takes a bunch of people to essentially 'stomp the grapes' around the outside, that's what we always say we're doing," Westfahl said.

"Snowmy's" base measures about 30 feet across and eight-feet high. The three ascending layers get smaller reaching to a peak of 30 feet at the top of the snowman's head. That means crews need to use a bucket truck to put the Stormy Kromer on top.

A team of six to eight helpers can build the snowman, but it takes a key supply. Recent winters were too warm, which meant there wasn't enough snow to build "Snowmy" since early 2015.

"We were just lucky enough that we had accumulated enough snow up to now," Westfahl said.

While people's backs are crying "uncle" from shoveling snow, Minocqua is celebrating it this month.

"Anything that brings attention to the area is always helpful," Hartwig said.

The people here know the return of the "granddaddy of all snowmen" means plenty of winter-weather business returning to town, too.

"The name of the game is just to entertain the people that are coming up for the weekend and want to see something new and interesting," Westfahl said.

Westfahl hopes "Snowmy" lasts until early April when they'll knock him down for safety. Until then, the Chamber wants people to take as many pictures with the snowman as they can.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


NEWBOLD - The Newbold Outdoor Recreation Center will soon have a new building.

Blackwell Job Corps provided the labor for the town to build the facility.

Builders put in a concrete slab for the foundation one month ago to start the project.

An instructor at Blackwell says that building will help store items. 

"This storage shed is going to be for them to store their equipment for their disc golf facility," said Jim Flannery, A construction craft labor instructor at Blackwell. "They have lawnmowers and UTV's and things like that to go into this facility." 

+ Read More

Play Video

ONEIDA COUNTY - Thousands of visitors filled the Northwoods this summer helping the state see a 12% increase in tourist arrivals.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Musicians gathered at Nicolet College for a night of collaboration. The local band Boat Patrol set up the event.

Boat Patrol keyboardist Daleth Mountjoy wanted to showcase the great talent in Rhinelander. He also said its always fun to play with other people.

"We've got a lot of people that are doing some really cool things," said Mountjoy. "We can take what they're doing and add our own little flavor to it. So it's not just showcasing someone else. It's collaborating with these other musicians and taking their songs and making them into something new and something fun."

Mountjoy said he met many of the artists at the monthly ArtStart open mic series "In Progress" in Rhinelander. One of those artists is Nate Sheppard.

Sheppard said playing with others makes him a better musician. He also thinks the event is a great way for the musicians to support each other.

+ Read More

Play Video

HARSHAW - A deadly mosquito-borne illness claimed the lives of two more people in the Midwest early this week. Only a handful of cases are reported each year and the illness is often a death sentence. 

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - There are more kittens than the shelter would like at the Lincoln County Humane Society. 
"Overcrowding, especially during peak times of year that are nicknamed 'kitten season', is a really big problem for shelters everywhere," said shelter manager Liz Friedenfels.

+ Read More

Play Video

ST. GERMAIN - Dozens came to the 10th annual Day of Renewal at Moon Beach Camp in Saint Germain Thursday.

Each year the event features a different theme on wellness.

"The focus is on happiness and how you can create happiness in your life," said presenter Jessica Schiek.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Vehicles with loud exhaust can be very annoying. The exhaust can also be expensive if you get a citation that's around 200 dollars.

Wisconsin requires people to maintain their exhaust system and to have a muffler in working condition. Oneida County Sheriff Patrol Sergeant Brad Fogerty says the biggest problem is during the winter.

"Exhausts can fail at any time during the year," said Oneida County Patrol Sergeant Brad Fogerty. "In northern Wisconsin with the winters we have and the amount of salts that is used on the road, that commonly will disintegrate a lot of our exhaust systems. Exhaust can get loud for a variety of reasons. Poor maintenance, exhaust can just wear out over time, or it can just become defective or altered with after-market products."

+ Read More
+ More General News