March 24, 2013

Dad, daughters make lasting memories with snow fort

An Augusta man takes a shovel approach to luring his two teens outside and away from Internet.

By Craig Crosby ccrosby@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA - When Steven St. Pierre went searching for an experience to share with his teenage daughters, he didn't make it past his front yard.

click image to enlarge

Steven St. Pierre tosses a shovelful of snow Wednesday onto a snow fort he and his daughters Shania St. Pierre, 14, center, and Natasha St. Pierre, 18, are building on Sixth Avenue in Augusta.

Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Now much of that yard at 27 Sixth St. is covered in snow. About 10 feet of it. With a tunnel bored through the middle. And lawn chairs on top.

"How many hours do you think we have in this?" St. Pierre asked his 14-year-old daughter, Shania St. Pierre.

"A lot," she said dryly.

Steven St. Pierre, 46, who now shares the home he grew up in with his mother and father and daughters, Shania and 18-year-old Natasha St. Pierre, is a snow fort builder from way back. He recalls classics he and the neighborhood kids built when Steven was a boy back in the 1970s.

But the fort he and his daughters have built since a snowstorm Feb. 9 goes far beyond anything Steven and probably most other people -- has ever done before. The squared snow-structure is roughly 10 feet tall, 15 feet wide and about 20 feet long. The tunnel, about 4½ feet by 4½ feet at its largest point, spans the entire length.

"Natasha is the technical one," Steven said. "She's the one who tells me what she wants it to look like."

The trio has expanded and shaped the fort with each snowstorm, even as warming temperatures earlier this month melted nearly all of the surrounding snow covering the ground.

Steven said they work on the fort every day. Steven's role, usually, is scooping the snow from the yard around his house and delivering it to the base of the fort. From there he tosses shovelfuls of snow to his daughters on top. He said they have crafted blocks of snow to form much of the top.

At its height, Steven said, the fort's roof deck reached above the eaves of his ranch-style home.

"Every time we get it up there, we get warm weather. It packs it down," Steven said. "Natasha wanted to put four rooms in there, but it's turning to ice. It's getting really hard to chisel."

The fort began taking shape when Steven went in search of an experience he could share with his daughters.

"They spend all their time on the Internet," Steven said. "I said, 'Why don't we build a snow fort?' They seemed to have a lot of fun with this."

Steven, standing outside in just a T-shirt Thursday, knows the fort's days are numbered. There has been talk about a friendly wager as to when the last of the fort disappears.

"The neighbors were talking about a pool," Steven said. "It will be interesting to see how long it's going to last."

Craig Crosby can be contacted at 621-5642 or at:

ccrosby@centralmaine.com

 

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