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Inventor finds magic in building igloos

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Winnipeggers are snow people. And growing up in a winter city means playing in the snow — throwing snowballs, tobogganing on icy hills, making snow angels and, of course, building snow forts.


Kids love to build snow forts and igloos. Then they grow up and became parents, and try to build those forts with their own kids. But the same problems persist: some walls are too straight, some walls don’t curve upwards properly, the blocks lack consistent shapes or forms.


Igloo makers, I’ve got some good news for you. There’s a ‘magic igloo maker’ who lives in Norwood, and he has a specially designed plastic mould that makes it easy to build a real igloo out of snow. And, unlike most ad hoc methods, these snow blocks won’t collapse.


Norm Goertzen is a the inventor of the Magic Igloo Maker. His innovative plastic mould consists of two interlocking blocks strategically designed to gradually build the curvature of an igloo. As the wall grows, the opening at the top gradually diminishes until the ceiling closes up.


And this thing works. I’ve tried it with my own family in my front yard.


The mould works well with all types of snow and can be built by just about anyone regardless of age.


It’s a real family activity that, according to Norm, takes about six hours to complete.


Like many entrepreneurs, Goertzen boasts a variety of skills but is most proud of his math skills, which he developed in high school and honed at university.


The Magic Igloo Maker is one of his three patented inventions, but he has plans for at least another 10 inventions and expects even more in the future.  


Goertzen believes his education and interest in math honed his problem-solving skills.
His moulded igloo-maker started from a problem. A few years ago, Norm’s  friend was trying in vain to make an igloo-fort for his kids. The blocks required a lot of cutting to make them fit and they often fell down. After several weeks puzzling over it, Goertzen discovered the solution using complex geometry.


Now he gets orders for and inquiries about his nifty device from all over the world including winter countries like Sweden, Norway, and Russia and even more tropical locales like California (for the mountains) and Dubai (where they’ve built an indoor ski hill and winter complex).


The Magic Igloo Maker is also a useful tool for an inspired fundraiser. Creative organizations see the potential of the clever moulds not only to raise money for their causes, but also to connect folks for some fun in a community activity.


There’s still enough snow out there to try out this innovative snow tool. Check out the website to order an igloo maker for yourself: http://www.magicigloomaker.com/.


Adriano Magnifico is a community correspondent for St. Boniface. You can contact him at amagnif@mymts.net.

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