LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — This pandemic has been particularly hard on parents. Being cooped up with the kids with no escape isn't easy.
"With all this going on, it’s just been hard. It feels like you’re very cooped up because of the weather, it’s so hot out," said Anoushka Dannin, a mother living in Las Vegas.
But in her Las Vegas backyard, the fun's back. And it's all thanks to something you almost never see in the southwest desert, snow.
"I just thought it was a genius idea," said Dannin. "I mean, like, deliver snow in the middle of 100+ degrees to families who are cooped up, amazing."
"That's the fun part about getting hit with a snowball in 100° weather. Come on!" said Marco Villarreal.
Villarreal, aka the "Vegas Ice Man," is the man who's making it snow in the desert.
When COVID-19 canceled almost every event in the valley, it killed Villarreal's elaborate ice sculpting business and forced him to get creative.
"Our typical business is 85% to 90% corporate events and there are no events. Right now, we are paying the rent at the shop," said Villarreal.
So, in an 18° freezer, the iceman got creative with the carving tools he had, grinding and grating big ice blocks, and then packaging up pounds of pure, fresh powder.
"Not everyone can afford an ice sculpture, but we are still sharing what we have, even if we are just making powder," said Villarreal.
With his wife's help, the couple came up with the "Snow Buddy."
And they have plenty of help testing out the accessory kits they've come up with to dress up a "Snow Buddy."
"What’s funny is, we’ve done so many and we get pictures along the way and none of them look the same way," Villarreal explained.
"Even though they’re all the same accessories, none of them are like, 'oh, it looks like that one, which looks like that one.'"
You may find this unique form of fun helps the whole family forget, even if it's just for a little while.
"It’s definitely a unique experience you’re not going to get anywhere else. You’re in a desert and there’s snow. It’s putting two weird things together. It’s a memory, it’s a lasting memory, even though it melts away," said Villarreal.
"They [the kids] absolutely loved it. The snowball fights are by far their favorite thing. I think it just helps them get out that energy and then they have a little fun and it just gives them a moment to kind of forget about all the other things that are going on," said Dannin.
Each "Snow Buddy" comes with 70 pounds of snow and costs $50, plus $15 for delivery. Each accessory kit costs an extra $12.
If you want to learn more about the "Snow Buddy," visit vegasiceman.com.