Evol Baxter, nine, rides a snow saucer with no hands in the snow park her dad, Dolan Baxter, built in their back yard on Jan. 27. Baxter builds a variation of the park in his yard by hand every year. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Eckville Echo

WATCH: Eckville man’s hobby creates wild backyard snow park

Dolan Baxter has been building snow parks ranging of all styles since he was a kid

A 25-year long hobby has turned an Eckville yard into a colourful snow park.

The backyard snow park built by Dolan Baxter boasts four snow saucer slides, a snow bowl, a skating rink and a zip line.

Baxter said he started constructing snow parks as a kid when he and his friends would build big hills at his grandparents’ farm to learn how to snowboard.

“When I was a kid the lady from the newspaper used to always come over and take pictures and everything, it was huge,” said Baxter.

He says he continued to build parks over the years and he has been building one in the yard pretty much every year since the move to his current home about 10 years ago.

“Every year we change it up a bit, sometimes there’s tunnels and stuff,” explained Baxter.

Around Dec. 20 Baxter started to construct the snow park by hand with shovels, snow he has hauled over with his truck and toboggans.

After the plow cleans the streets he will go out and cut it into blocks before loading it into the back of his truck.

The yard sees change over the course of the winter as snow continues to fall. With each snowfall the park needs to be cleaned back down to bare ice resulting in change as the new snow is utilized around the park.

Change also comes whenever he gets bored and hauls more snow over with the truck, said Baxter.

“I’m just a big kid,” laughed Baxter in response to his long-time hobby.

The park is designed in a way where multiple kids can go down different runs at the same time and not collide with one kid going up the wall of the snow bowl while another goes across.

Baxter added his nine-year-old daughter Evol is the test pilot to see if the features in the park work properly.

In the past the park has seen a snowboarding aspect, but was replaced with a rink this year so Evol could learn how to skate.

Both his daughters learned how to snowboard on the ramps in the backyard, just like he and his friends did years ago.

New this year is the zip line that runs across the width of the park and the Christmas lights built into the walls.

“You should see how many people drive by here in the middle of the night,” said Baxter. “We get lots of random people that just stop in the yard too and take pictures like ‘what is going on in here?’”

The park is a big hit for the kids, especially at the yearly birthday party held for his daughter in February.

Helmets are mandatory for all kids playing in the yard and most parents have to sign a waiver.

“It’s not different than any ski resort… I don’t want to see anybody getting hurt,” added Baxter. “Luckily we’ve never had anybody hurt.”

Once a year the adults also get to have their share of fun when he hosts a party called “Slush and Bleed.”

“When you get out here and you’re trying to do it you get butterflies,” said Baxter, “it’s super fun.”

Each year he spends endless hours out in the yard working on the park even in the -40 C weather because, he says, everything sticks together better in the cooler temperatures.

“It’s fairly unique like I’ve looked everywhere and I’ve never really seen someone else who has this level of craziness going on,” said Baxter. “I’ve YouTube’d and searched everywhere and I haven’t seen it.”

Eckville

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

An overview of Dolan Baxter’s backyard snow park which features four slides, a skating rink and a zip line. Photo submitted

Just Posted

United We Roll convoy rolls through Sylvan Lake and Eckville

It has been one year since the United We Roll convoy made its way from Alberta to Ottawa

Recognizing fraud taught in Eckville

The senior-focused session looked at the top eight types of scams on Feb. 13

Ponoka wilderness survivalist takes on ‘Alone: The Beast’

Show premieres Feb. 13, episode featuring Edwards airs Feb. 20

Alberta RCMP play cupid with #VehicleValentines

Twice a week valentines will be sent from the Alberta RCMP social media accounts

Eckville agency practices emergency preparedness

The Eckville Emergency Management Agency met Feb. 3 for the yearly tabletop exercise

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

AFN national chief calls for calm on Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline

Federal, B.C. ministers seek meeting with Wet’suwet’en in hope of blockade solution

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route

Flight to evacuate Canadians from cruise ship ‘expected’ to depart Japan on Thursday

Canadians seeking to return to home by commercial means will be subject to the Quarantine Act

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Wetaskiwin RCMP Investigate Shooting incident in Poplar Grove

VW sedan may be linked to Wetaskiwin gun incident

Wetaskiwin RCMP seeking witnesses to car-jacking

Armed theft resulted in two subjects facing multiple charges

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

Most Read