By Hugues Goosse
After some snowfalls, I was able to make snowballs because the temperature here is not very low. However, it is clearly not easy to obtain a snowman as you may do at home, just starting from a small ball and rolling it on the snow, the ball increasing in size at every turn.
Your personal experience probably tells you that in order to make snowballs or a snowman you need relatively warm and fresh snow. It should ‘sticks’ enough to produce a compact ball that holds even if you throw it away or if you want to assemble several big spheres to make your snowman.
Snow in Antarctica is generally very cold and compacted by the wind. If you take small pieces with your hands, it looks a bit like sand and it even do not wet your gloves if you do not let it enough time to melt.
Thanks to this wind compaction, you can obtain easily ice blocks. Such blocks can be used to build igloos, for instance. It is also possible to make sculptures, like the Christmas trees that Nander and Sainan did for us, but it is not great for snowmen.