Is the snow piling up? Try using your excess snow to make frozen art or recipes.
MICHIGAN—Snowmen are a staple of a good Michigan snow, with creative touches reflecting each family who creates them. But it’s not the only way you’ll find Michiganders celebrating and making the most of the white fluffy magic that marks the season.
Michigan averages 64 inches of snow every year, and that’s a lot of snow. When it really starts to pile up, every Michigander eventually has to wonder, what to do with all that snow? When you’ve run out of places to pile the snow, or when you’re just ready to beat the cabin fever and go outside, a little creative energy can go a long way.
Here’s a few ideas of what Michiganders love to do with snow and ice that you might not have tried yet.
In 2021, Macomb County resident Stephanie Newman’s backyard went viral due to her very colorful way to get her family outside. After 100 plastic shoe containers from Target, 450 ice bricks, and 40 collective hours of hard work over nine days, Newman had a colorfully vibrant igloo. For her neighbors who wanted to see it, Newman had one special admission price—do something nice, like shoveling snow for an elderly neighbor. Although the igloo didn’t last long in the mercurial southeastern Michigan weather, Michiganders were awestruck by this rainbow ice creation.
Want to build an igloo of your own? Get the instructions from Popular Science.
When the snow starts to fall, it’s easy to get tired of monochromatic white. Luckily, a smidge of creativity with a bit of food coloring can really do the trick. A simple spray bottle makes for a great outdoor craft for all ages.
Get the instructions from Sprouting Wild Ones.
Desserts made from real snow? Yep, it’s a thing. And Michiganders have more than enough snow hanging around to make it.
The technique for making snow cream has been around for a long time and is a tradition for some Michiganders. With little more than a bowl full of untouched pure snow, some condensed milk, optional sugar, and flavorings such as vanilla extract, you can make this simple dessert next snow day.
Get the recipe from Happy Hooligans.
Maple Syrup Snow Taffy
This is a recipe more commonly associated with our Canadian neighbors, but Michigan has maple syrup of its own. And, of course, a comparable amount of snow.
Sometimes referred to as “maple wax” and “sugar on snow,” this taffy is made in only three simple steps. First, you boil the syrup, then you throw it on the nearest pile of untouched snow, and finally, you wrap it around a stick before it fully cools. Simple enough for a kid to do, and truly delicious.
Get the recipe from Kitchen Joy.
Who doesn’t love a good snow cone at a summer fair? But you don’t have to wait for the summer or buy a shaved ice maker to enjoy this treat. With a little bit of fresh snow and some flavorings, you can make a snow cone or slushie at home.
Get the recipe from Happy Healthy Kids.
For students at Michigan Tech, there’s no better snow creation than the snow sculpture. The MTU Winter Carnival has involved students stomping and packing snow into beautiful designs for almost a century. Zehnder’s Snowfest in Frankenmuth also features the artform. There is no limit to the creativity of this medium. In 2021, one of the Winter Carnival’s winning designs was a display of sculptures modeled after the television show Futurama, but other students created designs from shows such as Spongebob Squarepants, Pokémon, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Phineas and Ferb.
Ready to try your hand at a snow sculpture? Get the instructions from Instructables Outside.
Ah, the snow fort. The perfect accompaniment to the warfare of the snowball fight. These frozen barricades are for more than just kids, though. The Big Snow Resort in the U.P. plays on childhood games with the Yeti Snow Fort. Visitors to the fort can slide away from it to escape—perfect for when you’re in the trenches.
Want to make a snow fort at home? Get the instructions from WikiHow.
If there’s one part of Michigan culture that winter’s icy grip has touched, it’s ice sculptures. From Frankenmuth’s Zehnder’s Snowfest, to Sault Ste Marie’s Downtown Winter Ice Festival, Michiganders are frequently wowed by events featuring blocks of ice being shaped into artistic structures. Skilled ice sculptors must work with a swift hand, attention to detail, and keen eye. Oh, and chainsaws. Sometimes chainsaws.
Want to try some beginner ice sculpting? Get the instructions from Instructables Outside.