British Columbia

Not your average snowman: Coquitlam, B.C., woman sculpts lifelike animals

A Coquitlam, B.C., woman took her love of winter a step further this year, sculpting a two-metre-tall tiger in front of her family's home.

'People react with shock and surprise and wonder,' Tiffany Yang says of her yearly creations

Tiffany Yang, 25, started sculpting snow animals after her family moved from Taiwan to B.C. in 2000. "I was so excited for the snow," she says. (Submitted by Tiffany Yang)

The dump of snow in February gave B.C. residents ample chance to build snowmen and even igloos

But one Coquitlam, B.C., woman took her love of winter a step further this year, sculpting a two-metre-tall tiger in front of her family's home.

Tiffany Yang, 25, even gave the sculpture a name — Chuffy — before it melted into a lump of ice in late February.

Still, the tiger had a solid week-long run, with neighbours ogling her creation.

"People react with shock and surprise and wonder," Yang said. "Also people that are walking the dog, they get scared."

It's no wonder, given how lifelike the sculptured appeared. Yang, an Emily Carr graduate, used a paint brush and mud to trace a tiger pattern and pieced together a tongue, fangs and some whiskers.

Yang's sculpture was so lifelike that it scared away her neighbours' dogs. (Submitted by Tiffany Yang)

She clocked up to eight hours of per day for five days to get it done. The toughest part was packing the snow together and building the foundation. 

"If it's too powdery, it doesn't stick," she says. "It's important to wait for the temperature to go up a little bit and then the snow kind of clings on tighter."

Neighbours knew to expect a display. Yang has sculpted snow animals in previous years, including a polar bear, rhino and centaur.

When deciding what to sculpt, Yang picks animals that are endangered. One of her favourites is the polar bear. (Submitted by Tiffany Yang)
Yang says she never has enough snow on her driveway for sculptures, so she has to steal some from neighbours. (Submitted by Tiffany Yang)

The art is meant to build awareness about endangered species, she says. The melting process helps to visualize their loss.

The sculptures have also sparked small acts of kindness from neighbours. Yang says one of her neighbours, a retiree, used a snow plow on her driveway so she wouldn't have to shovel before building.

"He's amazing," she said. "That helped me a lot." 

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