Ogopogo made of snow sighted in Quesnel

An excited school bus driver with two of her young passengers made a pit stop at 771 Vaughan Street on Wednesday, Jan. 26 for a photo with Vanessa Hildreth’s “Snowgopogo 2022’ sculpture. (Rebecca Dyok photo)An excited school bus driver with two of her young passengers made a pit stop at 771 Vaughan Street on Wednesday, Jan. 26 for a photo with Vanessa Hildreth’s “Snowgopogo 2022’ sculpture. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Quesnel homeowner Vanessa Hildreth has been making a snow sculpture of Ogopogo every winter since 2012. (Rebecca Dyok photo)Quesnel homeowner Vanessa Hildreth has been making a snow sculpture of Ogopogo every winter since 2012. (Rebecca Dyok photo)

Happy visitors captured a definitive sighting of Ogopogo in Quesnel, far from the creature’s usual Okanagan home.

The elusive lake monster made of snow is at 771 Vaughan Street. One early visitor on Jan. 26 was a school bus driver, along with two of her young passengers, who came by to grab a photo.

Several minutes later, a man hopped out of his vehicle.

“I had to find out where this was because I have 13 grandkids, and I know they’re going to say ‘Grandpa, let’s go find it,’” he told homeowner Vanessa Hildreth.

“I know the real ones are harder to find,” he added with a chuckle.

Hildreth has been making the giant snow sculpture — this year’s version is called “Snowgopogo 2022” — since 2012.

“He gets better every year, and I added an extra hump,” Hildreth said, noting there were only two before.

“I try to make it as tall as I can without whipping out a step ladder or something.”

A pair of battery-operated eyes that change colour make the infamous creature’s eyes glow at night.

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Hildreth estimates she spent 30 hours making it by hauling as much clean snow as she could from her backyard (which deer have stayed out of) with a wheelbarrow and mixing it into a sticky consistency with some water.

“My boyfriend helped me a little bit briefly, but it kind of looked like he put a tumour on there instead of scales,” she said, laughing.

“So he said ‘I’ll mix snow for you, how about that?”

A bout of warm temperatures resulted in Hildreth having to rebuild one of the sculpture’s humps, which had collapsed. Luckily, she said, she did not yet have the head on.

Hildreth always starts from the tail, typically working at night, so any new tenants in the apartment building across the street do not know what she’s doing until she is finished with the head.

“I hate that part every year,” she said of him melting away.

As of Jan. 26, Hildreth’s photos of “Snowgopogo” — shared to Quesnel Community News and Events on Facebook — have attracted more than 1,200 likes and 240 comments.

The horticulturist recalled going to Disneyland when she was 15 years old and seeing various plants, including one that looked like a sea serpent.

“I was thoroughly impressed,” she said.

“I took a picture of it and thought ‘Someday I should make that into a snowman.’ I finally did, and then I just kept doing it.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: rebecca.dyok@quesnelobserver.com



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