Montrealer invents sturdy backyard snow structures

It’s a nightmare situation – a snow fort, built to enjoy the wonders of winter, collapses on its creator. At best, it’s scary. At worst, it can lead to injury and even death.

Years ago, a 10-year-old Éric Villiard found himself in that situation – he was playing in a fort he’d made when the snow came crashing down on him. Luckily, his father was looking on from the house and rushed outside in time to dig his son out.

That experience is one of the reasons the Montrealer, former member of the Canadian alpine ski team and now father of two has invented Play Snow, structures that act as the skeleton for a snow fort. Made of high-density plastic, the structure is a little more than one metre high and one metre wide and can withstand 300 pounds. They come in the shapes of igloos or castles and tunnels to connect them; to build one, you assemble it then cover it with snow.

“It’s a whole project – you can build your own ice village in your backyard,” he said.

The prototypes took three months each to create with the help of Montreal industrial designers, and after looking into his options, his plan is to have them produced in Montreal as well.

Villiard raised $22,000 using Kickstarter, an online crowdfunding platform, in December. But since he didn’t reach his goal of $150,000 (he needed $250,000 – he was going to contribute the final $100,000 himself), the money was returned to the backers. He is now looking for people to invest in his creation, and after a recent flurry of media attention he’s received some calls.

The plan is to have them ready for sale by winter 2017 at the earliest. He’s hoping to sell them for less than $250.

Those who are interested in investing in Play Snow can contact Villiard at eric.villiard@videotron.ca. For more information about the project and to keep up-to-date on his progress, visit playsnow.ca.

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Posted by Play Snow on Friday, January 8, 2016