Snow Duck



Using inflatable structures is one way of being able to use ice as a building material. Sometimes an opportunity presents itself and one has to make time to jump in and grab it, despite not knowing what one is doing. And Happy Halloween!

Backstory – Winning a Duck from Idera Software

A while back, I entered a chat contest on Twitter sponsored by Idera Software. And I won! You have no idea the surprise I got when the receptionist at my work called me up and said there was a package for me. It was from a pool supply company in Houston.

I took it home and opened it up. It was this giant inflatable duck! Which happens to be the mascot of Idera Software in many versions.

My wife said, “What are you going to do with that thing? We don’t have a pool!”

And it sat in my garage until one day my old Boy Scout Troop I used to be a part of announced they were going to Cherry Creek State Park to go swimming and riding waverunners. Asked if I could come along and bring a toy…

So I aired it up, and barely shoehorned it into the back of the minivan.

I showed up and nonchalantly said, “What? Haven’t you seen a rubber ducky before?” It was the most ridiculous looking duck on the lake. You could see it from all around.

And that was the last time I used it.

Backstory – Ice Structures & Ice Instruments

I have been intrigued about using ice as a building material for a while. It is available nearly anywhere in the world.

Here is a cool (!) example: Construction of using air ribbed inflatable — Ice and Snow Lecture Hall.

And for the world’s largest display, China’s Ice City Harbin.

This winter ice castles are returning to Colorado and I am not going to miss it this year.

Note: visualizing ice on a grand scale is a past-time of mine. Engineering things like how does one freeze a lake solid? Not just the surface- the entire volume of water in a lake. Visions of creating, storing, and shipping ice. Building machines made out of ice.

A friend of mine also turned me on to this- ice instruments: Coolest Concert Ever? Hear Ice Instruments Play Beautiful Music | Short Film Showcase

Sub-Zero Opportunity

I knew this winter I wanted to play and experiment with some of my ideas. We recently had a few snow storms and sub-zero temperatures in the forecast. So the idea came to me to get outside and try something.

One of the only inflatable structures I have was a duck.

On more of a whim, I put together a plan of action into motion.

This is one of the few projects I have ever done where I didn’t have to buy anything beforehand!

My plan:

1) Inflate duck on driveway or in the garage
2) Toss over fence into the backyard
3) Create work area in snow
4) Fill buckets of water then into a tub
5) Spray duck using bilge pump and garden hose w/ mist setting
6) Repeat as water freezes
7) Avoid eye contact w/ neighbors 🙂
8) Evaluate experiment

So on number 7, a neighbor who was smoking on his back patio saw me walking a square pattern in the snow.

“What are doing?”

I waved, “I’m building an ice sculpture!”


I lost count but I probably sprayed over twenty coats of water. Waited a few minutes between each one. Ran back inside to watch parts of the World Series.

The first picture above; it reminds me of that scene from The Shining where Jack Nicholson is frozen at the end 🙂

Before winter officially sets in, chalk up one experiment in the books.


The bilge pump I used didn’t have much pressure so spraying water took a lot longer than I had thought. If the ice doesn’t melt off today, I might try covering it with snow.

One of my next ice experiments might involve inflatable air mattresses we use for camping and guests.

Go ahead and call me crazy. I love ice and thinking of ways of using it. Pictures follow.




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