How to Make the Perfect Snowball

By, Charlie Williamson

Super winter fun

As children, we all enjoyed a good snowball fight. It’s impossible to forget the old days when you looked out the window and saw a blanket of thick, powdery heaven covering the neighborhood; that excitement you felt as the news announced school was canceled freeing you up to go play with Johnny, Sue and Ellie down the street; and, the nagging warnings of your mother saying, “you’ll catch your death of cold” or, “if you get too messy don’t bother coming home.” We all share memories of racing down the street to meet our friends, all red faced and shivering, and joyfully frolicking in the snow. Inevitably, a snowball fight would begin to ensue. Your once gleeful friends quickly morphed into mortal enemies on the frozen field of battle. At some point, Attila the Hun (who strangely resembled your friend Johnny) emerged from behind a tree, outflanked you, pelted you with snowballs and, within minutes, you emerged from the battlefield wet, cold and defeated. Ah, the joys of childhood!

While the settings and cast of characters of these memories are different for everyone, we all seem to recall that at least one kid on the block somehow knew how to magically make the perfect arsenal of snowballs—or, rather, orbs of death that brought down empires of imagination. And if that kid was you was you, well, congrats. I’ll send you my therapy bill (Johnny, I hope you’re reading this).

So many of us are clueless when it comes to the art of crafting snowballs. After a devastating defeat at my friend’s annual snowball bar-crawl last year, I scoured the internet attempting to learn how to make the perfect snowball. My quest started as a way for me to learn from my embarrassing defeats in the great childhood Snow Wars. However, my inquiry quickly evolved into a mission to save future generations of children (and adults) from the embarrassment of subpar snowballs, tears and shame this holiday season. From countless hours and sleepless nights, here are the three most important tips for transforming a blanket of heavenly, white snow into a frozen arsenal of gravity-defying orbs that deliver icy justice to your arctic adversaries.

1.     You need to pick the right snow. Good snow can make or break a snowball. For the best snowballs, find snow that’s not too wet or too dry. If the snow is too wet, you’ll just end up making slush balls. While light, powdery snow makes great snow for skiing, it’s not good for snowball making. Colder temperatures create this powdery snow. Because of its low moisture content, powdery snow won’t pack. However, if you’re feeling super competitive, using your bare hands can melt the snow just enough to pack it in.

2.     Gloves, not mittens. When packing snowballs, you’ll need all the finger dexterity you can get. Mittens may keep your hands nice and warm, but it’s hard to pack a snowball with a pair of fins attached to your arms. It’s not impossible; it just takes more time and care. That time though could be the difference between a face full of snow or sweet victory. Go for the gloves… and the glory!

3.     Now the most important part… packing you snowball. You’ve found the perfect snow. You have gloves on. Now it’s time to start making your munitions. When selecting snow for your ammo, go with the snow a few inches below the surface. The top layer has already packed the snow for you, making your job a little bit easier. Fill both your cupped hands with snow and rotate them to pack the snow. Apply more pressure with each rotation. Don’t start with too much pressure, though, or the snowball will just fall apart. When you start feeling some resistance from the snow as you pack, the snowball is ready. Stop pressing and start smoothing the ball out so it forms a crystal ball shape. Congratulations! You’ve got yourself a perfect snow bomb capable of taking down Attila the Hun. Look out, Johnny… I’m coming for you!