Snow Snakes Activity for Boy Scouts

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Snow Snakes   Snow Snakes Activity   Scout Activity

This Activity is meant for Boy Scouts.
8 foot long 2x2 or 2x4 board. 
Sandpaper, paint, ski wax, lead.
This is a great winter patrol activity to build their snakes. Then, a winter outing that will take about 2 hours to build the course and throw the snakes. 
Snow snakes are carved wooden staves slid across an icy stretch to see who can slide the farthest. This is a native American contest that is great fun at a Klondike Derby or Winter campout that has snow or frozen lake.

Build the Snow Snake: Each patrol or scout should create their own snow snake. The board should be sawn and sanded down so it is from 5 to 7 feet long with a 4 inch long head. The snake should be about 3/4 to 1 inch wide and 1/2 inch high for the length of the body. The head should be from 1 1/2 to 2 inches tall. Using a 2x2 firring strip as the blank works well, or rip cut a 2x4.  
You can drill eyes in the head and fill with lead or a couple bolts for extra weight.
The underside of the snake is rounded and the back is flat. The bottom of the head should slope up like the front of a snow ski.
Each snake should be well sanded, especially the bottom. Then, painted and waxed for a smooth finish. (One scout created a beautiful one by woodburning and then varnishing and then waxing.)

Building the Course: On the day of the outing, a snow trough needs to be created. Mark out where the trough will be and pile up a long row of snow, perfectly straight, and about 2 feet high. The trough should be as long as you can make it with the people available - 300 yards is not too long!
Once the snow is piled up, dig a V trough down the center and make it as straight, even, and smooth as possible. (If you are doing this on a frozen lake, just digging a trough down to bare ice for the trough works fine.)

Throwing the Snakes: At the start of the course, a scout holds his snake by the tail with the head resting on the ground and gives it a big push much like a shuffleboard stick. Or, scouts can carry their snake and take a running start before launching it down the track.

We have also created larger 2x2 snakes by cutting a 2x4 down the middle leaving a head at each end something like this:
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