Family’s snow sculpture depicts Nativity scene
December 6, 2004
The Nativity scene on Pete Hagan’s lawn is serene, peaceful and represents the joy of the Christmas season.
Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, along with a donkey, pig, lamb and a hovering angel, bring a sense of tranquility to the Carson City neighborhood.
But it’s not your typical Nativity. Hagan and his children constructed the scene from snow.
“It took a lot of work processing the snow,” Hagan said. “I didn’t think the kids would be a bit of help, but they were going quicker than I was.”
Hagan said he and wife, Debbie, continue to find things for the family to do to bring back the magic of Christmas.
“The kids always ask, ‘How do you do that?’ and I just say, ‘You roll the snowballs, and God does the rest.’
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“This is a family-oriented thing. It’s about Christmas; it’s not about the presents.”
Hagan is no stranger to ice-and-snow sculptures.
One of his most memorable is of a ballerina, which was created on the lawn of the Laxalt Building in 1994. He has also made one of Santa Claus handing a teddy bear to a child in front of a fireplace, Christmas carolers and scenes from the movies “Aladdin” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
“I used to do this all the time, but we haven’t had the weather to do it. We always do drawings of sculpture ideas, and this one has been on the drawing board quite a few years. We were just waiting for the weather to be right. Then it was out the door to do it.”
Hagan received a lot of help from Shelby, 12; Tyler, 9; Jared, 8; and the newest member of the family, 1-year-old Janelle. Debbie keeps an eye on the progress.
Hagan estimates the family put in about 60 hours to create the Nativity, finishing the project Sunday evening. He uses fresh powder, lays it out, and searches for impurities like grass and twigs.
Then he hoses it down to turn it to slush, sculpting with that.
“It’s a lot of work just prepping the snow,” he added. “Then you build parts. The kids built all the animals – the inner structure of all the pieces, with what kids like to do: snowballs.
“Then you roll the snowballs and stack them up. Then I sculpt the outside to make the actual statue.”
Neighbors have been taking in the progress for more than a week and enjoy the end result.
“He’s been working on it for hours,” said neighbor Tom Eddis. “I think it’s absolutely gorgeous.
“He has Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in a stable setting. It’s about 8-foot tall by 6-foot wide. There’s also a lamb, donkey and a pig’s head turned, like they’re looking through a window. And above is a full-scale angel.”
Down the street, neighbor Becky Richards said she was amazed by the size of the Nativity.
“I just can’t believe what I saw,” she said. “There’s a huge angel, and it’s all carved out of snow. I’ve only ever seen these on TV. I’ve never seen it in person.
“I can’t imagine how he did it.”
Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at email@example.com or 881-1223.