AWG igloo loses battle with sun

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A multicoloured igloo built in Hay River for the Arctic Winter Games lost its battle with the sun.

The igloo, which had become something of instant icon, was taken down by its creator on the afternoon of March 19 with help from the Town of Hay River.

Teira Arnault inspects her sun-damaged igloo on March 14. She built the structure as a personal project for the South Slave Arctic Winter Games, but had to take it down on March 19 because of safety concerns. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Teira Arnault, who built the igloo in late February in front of the Welcome to Hay River sign, said it wasn’t a difficult decision to remove it because it might collapse.

“I was kind of worried about it for the last few days just because the weather has been so warm and it was rotting,” she said the day after it was removed. “I was worried somebody was going to get hurt.”

Arnault checked the igloo on March 19 and its tunnel and one side had further deteriorated.

She said she was worried the igloo – made of 600 ice blocks – could have fallen on anyone who crawled inside.

“I had fixed it with snow, but I kicked my foot through it very easily,” she said. “It wasn’t very strong.”

Arnault had covered the igloo, which was four feet high and eight feet across, with a white tarp to reflect the sunshine, especially on the side facing the river which got the most sun.

She is happy the igloo was standing long enough for many people to get photos of it, including athletes and other visitors for the Arctic Winter Games, which officially began on March 18.

“I think a lot of people got a lot of beautiful pictures with it,” she said. “And I think everybody here will remember it for the Arctic Winter Games.”

Arnault noted it was particularly nice to look at the igloo with lights on inside.

“I think it was just the colours and the way the lights shone through it,” she said. “It was kind of like stained glass almost, but it was ice.”

Arnault said she asked the town for help to remove the igloo and it sent a backhoe.

Mayor Brad Mapes agreed with Arnault’s decision to have it taken down.

“There’s nothing you can do with Mother Nature, right?” he said of the warm weather that led to the igloo’s demise.

Mapes noted the igloo earned many positive comments, including from visitors to the Arctic Winter Games.

“They really appreciated it,” he said.

Mapes said hopefully Arnault will consider building another igloo next winter, and the town would assist her with the project.

Arnault noted many people have already asked her if she plans to build another one next winter, and she may.

“It was a fun project,” she said.

However, it might be in her yard where it would be easier to watch.

“I’ve already started saving cartons for next year,” Arnault said, referring to the milk cartons in which she freezes water into blocks.

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