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Teens erect igloo in Woodlawn

Members of the O'Hara family and their friends along Cleremont Drive in Stafford spent their day off from school on Thursday building a two room igloo, capable of holding up to ten people inside.  From left to right the Builders are John O'Hara, 12, Kevin Dreeke, 14,  Samuel Harris, 14, Chris O'Hara 19, Josh Laidley, 14, and Nick Notgrass, 14. ( REZA A. MARVASHTI / THE FREE LANCE-STAR )

Members of the O’Hara family and their friends along Cleremont Drive in Stafford spent their day off from school on Thursday building a two room igloo, capable of holding up to ten people inside. From left to right the Builders are John O’Hara, 12, Kevin Dreeke, 14, Samuel Harris, 14, Chris O’Hara 19, Josh Laidley, 14, and Nick Notgrass, 14. ( REZA A. MARVASHTI / THE FREE LANCE-STAR )

Southern Stafford County resident Chris O’Hara saw an opportunity in the region getting dumped on by nearly a foot of snow Wednesday.

With the help of neighborhood friends, he built two life-sized igloos, connected by a tunnel, on Cleremont Drive, in the Woodlawn subdivision in Stafford County.

“We’ve tried it in the past, but we haven’t had enough snow to really pull it off,” said O’Hara, 19.

Chris O'Hara, Kevin Dreeke, Josh Laidley and Samuel Harris sit in one of the rooms of the igloo they built. ( REZA A. MARVASHTI / THE FREE LANCE-STAR )

Chris O’Hara, Kevin Dreeke, Josh Laidley and Samuel Harris sit in one of the rooms of the igloo they built. ( REZA A. MARVASHTI / THE FREE LANCE-STAR )

“As soon as we saw we had enough snow to work with, we jumped on the opportunity to take advantage of that. We knew we wouldn’t have the chance to do it again anytime soon, so this was the year.”

O’Hara and about seven others started working around 9 a.m. Thursday on constructing the igloos.

They used a brick form, he said.

The igloos stretched about 30 feet long, total, and about six feet tall by six feet wide. There’s enough room inside them for about 10 people.

O’Hara put his younger neighbors to work building 200 to 300 snow bricks, each about 10 inches long and four or five inches wide.

The bricks interlock, and the hardest part for the builders was making the curved arch at the entrance, O’Hara said.

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The teens built two full-sized igloos, connected by a tunnel. (Reza Marvashti/The Free Lance-Star)

The amateur builders were out there until about 8 p.m. Thursday, O’Hara said.

They took shelter inside the igloos when it started to sleet, but it didn’t stop them from completing the project.

“They finished the one igloo for about a half hour and thought it was done, and then decided ‘we are adding on,’” said Heather O’Hara, Chris’s mom.

“I was a little skeptical if it would get finished,” she said. “They persevered, and it’s fabulous.”

The igloos even light up inside, one by a red, rotating police-type light and the other by a white light.

“From the outside, it looked pretty cool,” O’Hara said.

The last time they got to make one was about four years ago—the last time the region got any kind of significant snowfall.

Since they built it, they’ve gotten a huge response from their neighbors.

People drive by and slow down to take pictures, O’Hara said.

For him, it was the perfect way to spend the day off from school.

O’Hara is studying pre-engineering at Germanna Community College, with plans to transfer to Virginia Tech.

“It’s definitely fun to see him create,” said his mom, Heather.

While some holed up inside, O’Hara and his friends stayed active.

“It’s also great to see young people outside having fun,” she said.

“It’s a lot more fun than playing video games,” O’Hara said.

Their hard work didn’t go unrewarded.

“I just lined up five or six mugs of hot cocoa every two hours,” Heather O’Hara said.

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413

rsidersky@freelancestar.com

 

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