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The Sesame Street of Willoughby Drive

It isn't golf, but Dave Rudge has found an icy new hobby.

Dave Rudge normally spends his winters in Palm Springs.

"That's where I should be – playing golf and tennis," he said.

Rudge and his wife stayed home this winter because it wasn't safe for them to be down there. Instead, he has been taking advantage of the mild winter at home.

He started building snow sculptures around the second week in December because "the weather was nice and there was lots of snow." Rudge didn't want to build just a snowman and based his first sculpture on a Peanuts cartoon of Snoopy holding a hockey stick while standing on top of his dog house.

"I just went from there, kind of every second day I did another one," he said.

Rudge was never into snow sculpting until this year, but in years prior he had a bobsled run in his backyard. 

Rudge said his sculptures are just fancy snowmen, but he does build a support system of wire and sticks to help prop them up. First, he mixes snow with water and packs the mixture until it is solid around the support system. He then uses a saw to carve the sculptures and when they are finished he sprays them with water. He also sprays them down nightly – most of them have turned into solid ice.

His favourite sculpture is Woodstock, which he said was the most difficult sculpture to make. Woodstock appears to be floating beside Snoopy, who is proudly holding a hockey stick and is standing beside a Canadian flag. There are flags placed all around Rudge's yard.

"The flags are here because Snoopy is leading the charge for the Canadian hockey team," he said.

Rudge puts little details and accessories on all of his sculptures. Cookie Monster holds a plant pot of foam cookies that Rudge made specifically for the sculpture. Burt and Ernie have fur hair and eyebrows. Oscar the grouch is in a real garbage can and some of the characters are even sporting ties.

"I found a new use for my $50 silk ties," he said. "My wife said to me, 'Did you ever think you'd be putting $50 ties on Big Bird?"'