For many, the wonderful snowy season is nothing more than a headache — and it’s easy to see why; below freezing temperatures, dangerously icy roads, and insanely chapped lips are certainly no fun by any means. However, when you stop focusing on the negatives to really embrace the beauty of winter, the picturesque season is truly a wonderful thing.
Plus, just like all the other seasons, winter offers a wide variety of fun activities that can only be experienced when the weather gets cold: like snowball fights.
Ah, ‘tis the season for spreading holiday cheer, spending quality time with loved ones, and vanquishing your opponents in a fierce snowy battle. Regardless of your relationship status with the beloved wintery season, there’s no denying that chucking a perfectly packed snowball at your little brother is nothing short of exhilarating.
That being said, how do you make a perfect snowball? Well, the short answer is to simply find some snow that’s not too wet and not too dry before rolling it into a ball with your hands.
As for the long answer, you’re just going to have to keep reading. You see, snowball-making is an art. And like all art, it takes time, practice, and dedication to master the craft-making perfect snowballs is no different. Besides, do you think a poorly-made snowball can defeat a perfectly packed snowball on a mission to destroy its opponents? We think not!
So, if you’re looking to be victorious this year and earn the title as the ultimate snowball fight champ— keep reading.
Here’s everything you need to know to make a proper snowball:
The Art of Making Perfect Snowballs
We’ve all been there. You wake up in the morning and peek out the window to find a fresh blanket of white powdery snow on the ground. Without a moment to waste, you throw on your warm clothes, thick boots, and cozy mittens before racing out the door to scoop handfuls of the soft snow.
You press and press between your minutes, but no matter how hard you try, it just won’t form into a solid ball. What gives?
There’s a pretty simple explanation for why some snow makes effortless balls that pack flawlessly and keep their perfect shape until they explode in a snowy flurry all over their intended target, while other snow just won’t cooperate. It all, believe it or not, boils down to physics.
Water is a unique substance with an interesting property: it takes up more room in its solid form than in its liquid form. Why? Because in the liquid form, you get hydrogen bonding: aka, the molecules are attracted to each other, which is exactly why water will climb up your beach towel against gravity if the bottom end of the towel is left in a puddle.
This phenomenal force of attraction means liquid O can pack much more densely than solid O, forming a rigid crystal-like structure known as ice.
Ice, Ice, Baby
When engaging in an epic snowy battle, it’s essential to keep in mind that frozen water under pressure will melt. As you squeeze the snow together in your hands, just the edges of the flakes will melt. However, as soon as you release that pressure, the water will refreeze, acting as a binding agent to hold the ball together.
You see, when you’re making a snowball, what you’re doing is welding the snow to itself — using snow in liquid form to bind the solid. It’s pressure (not the heat from your hands) that produces the glue-like liquid.
So, when you pick up snow in your mitten-clad hands, you need to apply enough pressure so that it melts ever so slightly from a solid into a liquid because when you finally release that pressure, the liquid will instantly freeze, fusing the snowflakes together like glue in whatever shape you packed it in.
Know Your Snow
With that in mind, we can now discuss the different types of snow.
The best kind of snow to make balls is when temperatures are just below freezing. If the snowflakes are falling from the sky in clumps, you know that it’s about to be a perfect day to engage in snowy combat. This coveted snow will pack beautifully under firm pressure but won’t turn into a dangerous rock-solid ball of ice like you’ll get with warm, wet snow.
Sure, warm snow is typically a little wetter and heavier making it pretty simple to roll into a hardball, but at the end of the day, you want your snowballs to be fairly soft on impact. You also definitely don’t want to make snowballs if the snow is too icy. Getting hit with what is essentially an ice ball is a seriously bad time.
On the other hand, if the weather gets too cold, the snow becomes way too powdery because there’s no moisture — aka, this type of snow is very dry and won’t hold any shape. That’s because there is no liquid to fuse the snowflakes together to freeze into a ball.
- Pro Tip: While there’s really not too much you can do when the snow is warm, if the snow is too powdery, simply grab your handy-dandy garden hose and give the ground a nice sprinkle of water. This should help to put moisture into the snow so you can pack it into snowballs.
Steps To Make Winning Snowballs
So, without further ado, here are five steps to make a proper snowball:
Step 1: Check The Snow
First things first, head outside to check the snow. If it’s not too cold and not too warm, you’re good to go! Call up your pals, make some hot cocoa and get ready for snowy warfare.
Step 2: Pick Deep Snow
As we all know by now, snowballs are best when they are firm and packed. Snow that’s slightly below the surface has already been packed together by the pressure from the snow above. If there are more than a couple inches of the frozen white stuff on the ground, reach below the surface to gather snow.
Step 3: Stick With Clean Snow
Ok, this should really go without saying, but just in case — we’re adding it to the list. Do not make your snowballs out of dirty snow, period. Avoid snow that’s close to the road and make sure it’s free of dirt and debris. And of course, no yellow snow…
Step 4: Pack Your Snowball
Once you’ve found the perfect snow, it’s time to start making snowballs! Cup your hands and then dip them into the ground to pick up a handful of snow in each hand. Bring your hands together while rotating them. This motion is what will help to fuse the ice crystals together to form a solid snowball.
With each rotation, gradually increase the pressure. When you start feeling a little resistance from the snow as you pack, the snowball is ready.
- Pro Tip: Avoid putting too much pressure on the snowball too soon as this can result in the snow crumbling.
Step 5: Smooth It Out
Now your snowball is done. The only thing left to do is smooth out any rough edges to form a nice oval shape.
Set your snowball aside and make more!
When it comes to winter, many folks hibernate indoors to avoid the cold. And while we don’t blame them — especially if they live in one of the outlandishly chilly regions in the world — the truth is that the most wonderful time of the year provides a wide array of fun activities that can only be enjoyed when the weather gets cold. In other words, they’re missing out.
From snowball fights to sledding and sleigh rides to winter sports, there is so much fun to be had in the winter. So bundle up, embrace the cold, and get outside — just don’t forget your favorite FUNBOY Sled!
Here at FUNBOY, we’ve taken generic snow sleds to a whole new level. Not only are our luxe sleds totally stylish, but they’re super lightweight and undeniably comfortable. Made with high-quality, strong, and durable materials, you can count on us to provide you with the best sleds on the market that are second-to-none.