GREEN

Local Kids Delirious As Legendary Bloke Makes Real Snow In His Front Yard

The school bus stopped so everybody could play.

05/06/2017 4:48 PM AEST | Updated 05/06/2017 4:49 PM AEST
Roland Zopf
The school bus driver appears to have pulled over while everyone plays. Another excellent person.

Roland Zopf lives and works in Bathurst, New South Wales, about three hours west of Sydney. In his day job, he's a cartographer. His hobby at night? He makes snow.

That's right. He makes snow. He actually covers his lawn in a carpet of authentic fluffy white stuff, just like they do in the Snowy Mountains. Except while ski resorts use special fan guns which cost $30,000 each, Zopf rigged up his own system with bits 'n' bobs from the local hardware store.

Roland Zopf
We bet your sprinkler can't do this.

Last Thursday night, he used his system to make a really nice 15cm blanket of snow. And didn't the local school kids ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT.

Roland Zopf
We don't need snow... education.

"With a school bus stop across the road, both primary and high school kids had a good time playing in the snow before heading to school," he told HuffPost Australia about the scene on his lawn on Friday morning.

"It made a great way to finish the week, as well as celebrating the start of winter, putting a smile on everyone's face."

Roland Zopf
They were all having a ball. A snow ball.

To make snow, you need a combination of cold water and compressed air, plus subzero temperatures with low humidity. Bathurst has had perfect conditions so far in June, with overnight minimum temperatures to date of minus 5, minus 5, minus 3, minus 5 and minus 4.

"I decided to have a early sleep and get up at 2am than wait up all night for the temp to drop," he said.

We love your dedication, Roland.

Roland Zopf
Yep, that's 15cm, all right.

"On Thursday morning I had a hose fitting problem with water leaking. Unfortunately I broke the water pressure washer with over-tightening so that night was a fail. Working in -5C temps with leaking water is not fun for the fingers."

We bet it's not.

"Next morning at 2am, Friday, I was up with a new water pressure washer, and this time the snow gun would not fire. Turns out I dropped the hose on the ground and dirt had clogged the nozzles. So with another gun I had also made, I was able to get the snowgun to fire up and make snow at -3.5C."

Because you are the best bloke in Bathurst.

Roland Zopf
Sign not required.

Snowmaking is a pretty noisy activity, and we couldn't help wonder if the reception from neighbours was a little icy. Not at all, Zopf told us.

"Noise wise, running an air compressor and water pressure washer can be noisy. But I've had no complaints. I have the equipment hidden behind a fence close to the snowgun, with several wooden pallets to muffle the noise."

Roland first had the idea to make snow in Bathurst a few years ago when he was having a beer outside at the pub and the spillage snap-froze to the table. Having successfully made snow in his yard several times, he now has bigger plans.

He wants to make a toboggan slope. For this, he needs another month or two of fine-tuning and four snowguns. But Roland told us it will happen.

Roland Zopf
If this isn't called a "snowbow", it bloody well should be.

According to to Bureau Of Meterology data, Bathurst has an average of 34 subzero nights each winter. With average maximum temperatures around 12 or 13 all winter, meltage would not be too severe.

A future Bathurst toboggan park may be a thing. But for now, the local kids look pretty satisfied with snowball fights out the front of Roland's place.

Oh, and if you feel like a little real snow this coming weekend, it's the official start of the ski season in NSW and Victoria. Perisher in NSW got things underway a little early on Friday and into the weekend, just like Roland Zopf did in Bathurst.

There was also skiing and snowboarding at Mt Buller in Victoria thanks to a little bit of natural snow but mostly -- you guessed it -- the snowmakers.


ALSO ON HUFFPOST AUSTRALIA

More On This Topic