Hay River milk carton igloo melts (helped by baseball bat)

As temperatures across the territory reached near-record highs, Hay River’s milk carton igloo was the first to fall.

Teira Arnault said it took her 600 milk cartons and three weeks to build the igloo – then she took a baseball bat to it on Sunday, when the structure started to melt.

This wasn’t the first time Arnault has made an ice igloo. She created one last year to celebrate the 2018 Arctic Winter Games, which were co-hosted by Hay River and Fort Smith.


Arnault got the idea from her sister and brother-in-law, who had seen a picture of a similar igloo on Pinterest.

“I decided to build one for the Arctic Winter Games and try to make mine better than [theirs],” she said.

Arnault spent many hours washing hundreds of milk cartons after her kids went to bed, then many more hours out in -30C setting the blocks into place these past two winters.

But the 2019 igloo was only up for three weeks before it started to melt and fall apart.

“Even with the cold weather, the sun gets higher in the sky and the colours on the bricks attract the sun and the colours just melt off it right away,” she explained.


“It gets to be kind of an eyesore. So I just took a baseball bat and knocked it to the ground.”

The igloo fell one day before Snowking’s Winter Festival, in Yellowknife, announced the heat would force organizers to close the Snowcastle – a snow structure on Yellowknife Bay – from 12-5pm on weekdays, to preserve the snow in temperatures well above freezing.

Temperatures in Hay River reached 9C on Sunday, the fourth consecutive day above freezing. Sunday’s high was around 18C above the average high for the town in mid-March.

People in town love the igloo, Arnault said, and are already asking if she’s going to build one again next year.


“I always say I’ll think about it,”she said. “But then last minute, I always decide I’m going to. So we’ll see.”

A photo of the Hay River milk carton igloo in March 2018. Marilyn Marshall Photography
A photo of the Hay River milk carton igloo in March 2018. Marilyn Marshall Photography