What was once just a mountain of snow in the front yard of the Prete family property in Cardston, Alta., is now a symbol of their labour of love. Matthew Prete and his three sons created a snow cave mansion and it isn’t the first one they’ve built.
“Four times actually,” said eight-year-old Jaedon Prete. “The first year was one room, the next year two, the next year plus an igloo, this year three bedrooms and a party room.”
Oldest brother Micah, who is 10 years old, said the hardest part this time was, after all the digging was done, “pretty much getting situated when we were going to sleep in it.”
Wrapped up in blankets and with a few heaters on hand, they spent the night inside the cave soaking up some family time.
“Me and my three kids and my brother and one of his kids, we spent the night,” father Matthew said. “The Saturday night we had a pizza party and played Settlers of Catan until about one in the morning and then we all crawled into our sleeping bags.”
If you are wondering what its like to sleep in the cave, youngest brother Kylan Prete said its pretty simple.
“It’s like normal sleeping, but on a mattress in a sleeping bag with blankies,” he said.
The boys are hoping this year’s shoveling pays off. They have posted the mansion online, inviting people to pay for a night’s stay. They hope to save up for something special.
“Same as my older brother: Nintendo Switch. We are both saving up for one,” Jaedon said.
“It’s not a bad lesson to learn. That if you work hard, you get something out of it,” Matthew said. “So maybe one of dad’s ulterior motives here.”
Southern Alberta weather is forecasted for a rapid warmup, so nights available in this unique accommodation may be melting away.