Winnipeg man builds impressive ‘snow bowl’ in backyard

Winnipegger Bill Martens built a full-sized rink in his back yard using snow for boards.

In the residential community of Charleswood, Winnipeg, stands a massive outdoor hockey rink — made entirely of snow.

Bill Martens, a 69-year-old colon cancer survivor, built the 111-foot-by-44-foot backyard rink to hold a charity hockey game that could accommodate more than 1,000 spectators.

"I call it the snow bowl," he told the Winnipeg Sun.

"Everything is made from snow — it's totally snow from the boards down to the ice. In the construction of the boards and bleachers, there’s well over 3,000 blocks of snow."

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"I do believe that this is probably the largest and most beautiful bowl in the world,” he told CTV Winnipeg.

The rink, a month-long building project, will be completed in a few days when Martens adds lights and netting at each end. He plans to submit the rink to the Guinness Book of World Records.

He hopes the rink will host an exhibition game, hosted by Winnipeg sports celebrities, on Jan. 18 to celebrate the annual Hockey Day in Canada — and raise thousands for charity. Plans for the game are currently in the works.

He told CTV Winnipeg that he also plans to open the rink to the public.

"I would have liked to build it a little bit bigger but it’s as big as I could built it in my yard," he said.

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While friends and neighbours helped haul snow to his backyard, Martens' admits he did about 70 per cent of the work himself.

"Four years ago, I was literally dead," Martens said from his Charleswood home. "So this is good for me. I feel really well and exercise is good for that."

When asked about the labour involved — and the bitter cold he had to endure — Martens responded humbly:

"That's nothing," he said. "Look what they did in ancient Greece and Egypt. They built pyramids."