Montreal’s Eric Villiard was crushed under a snow fort when he was just 10 years old, but that didn’t stop him from letting his two young boys build forts once he became a father.
Instead, Villiard came up with a way to prevent them from ever becoming buried beneath the snow. After watching his oldest son dig tunnels in snow banks, Villiard was reminded of the time his own snow fort collapsed on top of him. His father rushed to save him, but if he hadn’t been watching, Villiard could have met a very different fate.
That’s how he came up with the idea of a plastic structure shaped like an igloo that can support snow. When its slots are filled with the white stuff, it looks like a traditional snow fort, but it’s completely safe for children to play inside.
“As parents we know that children love to play outside—why stop them or worry about it?” Villiard writes on the product’s website.
Villiard told CBC News that he spent two years building a prototype of the polyurethane igloo in his garage. He says the structure can support up to half a ton of snow.
Once he finished the prototype, he promoted the project on Kickstarter. After just two months, he managed to raise more than $300,000 to reproduce his plastic igloo. Because everything is made in Quebec, Investissement Quebec also helped with some of the funding.
So far, Villiard has sold more than 1,500 Play Snow igloos across the country, and he has big plans for his newfound company.
His next steps include producing plastic tunnels and castles. Once they’re available, kids will be able to create entire villages of snow, and their parents will be completely worry-free.