Formula for building the perfect snowman

A cool looking mini snowman. Taken by the team at Sandilands Golf Club, Sutton-on-Sea.
A cool looking mini snowman. Taken by the team at Sandilands Golf Club, Sutton-on-Sea.

In the wake of the heavy snowfall that descended on the UK over the weekend, experts have today (Monday) revealed the formula for building the perfect snowman.

Indeed, while 92 per cent of Britons admit they love making snowmen, almost the same number, 87 per cent, don’t feel confident in their snowmanufacturing.

Commissioned by MORE TH>N, mathematician Dr James Hind’s - of Nottingham Trent University - formula takes in several variables when assessing snowman supremacy, including height, number and diameters of snowball tiers, freshness and purity of snow, accessories, outdoor temperature and the ‘golden ratio’ Phi, which is used as a marker for beauty and determines the visual appeal of objects.

According to his findings, the perfect snowman must:

• Be precisely 1.62m in height

• Be made up of three tiered balls of snow with diameters of 30cm (head ball), 50cm (body ball) and 80cm (leg ball) respectively, following the golden ratio

• Wear three accessories: hat, scarf and gloves

• Have three buttons on the snowman’s chest each at an equal distance from one another

• Have a nose made from a carrot that is exactly 4cm long

• Have eyes no more than 5cm apart

• Have four distinct limbs (such as arms made from sticks or snow and cleft legs)

• Be made using fresh, litter free snow that has just fallen

• Be built while the outdoor temperature is at or below 0°C

According to research by MORE TH>N, the majority of snowmen built in the UK don’t wear a hat (64 per cent) or scarf (59 per cent) and the average snowman height is 1.1m (3.65ft) - meaning they are 32 percent shorter than the perfect snowman calculated in Dr. Hind’s formula.

MORE TH>N subsequently put the formula to the test by evaluating some of the nation’s favourite fictional snowmen against it.

While Olaf from Frozen is one of the nation’s favourite snowmen, with 36 per cent of Britons favouring the popular Disney character over any other, his design is the furthest from perfection, according to the formula, with the science scoring him just 15 out of 100.

Conversely, while his snowman sadly melts away at the end of the story, the little boy in The Snowman can perhaps take solace in the knowledge that the flying figure from Raymond Briggs’s classic tale is one of the closest to meeting the criteria for the perfect snowman, scoring 73 out of 100.

Here are the top five fictional snowmen and how they rank against the formula:

• Jack Frost (Jack Frost, 1998) - 80

• The Snowman (The Snowman, 1978) - 73

• Frosty the Snowman (Frosty the Snowman, 1969) - 49

• Leon (Elf, 2003) - 20

• Olaf (Frozen, 2013) - 15

Graham Nicholls, head of home insurance at MORE TH>N, said: “Building snowmen is one of the classic winter pastimes and a great opportunity for friends and family to come together.

“What’s more, snowmen can actually help to prevent household flooding, with their shape and construction slowing the melting of snow, which subsequently reduces the amount of water produced when the temperatures rise. 
“The closer the snowman’s shape and size is to Dr Hind’s formula, the better its chances of curbing flood risk at home. 
“With this in mind, and with experts forecasting plenty of snow this year, we’d encourage households everywhere to get out in their gardens and start building the best snowmen ever.”

Away from fiction, real life snowman makers have some way to go to meet the high standards of the formula.

Dr James Hind, of Nottingham Trent University, said: “There are many contrasting opinions about what makes the perfect snowman, but this research should settle the debate, as it outlines the definitive blueprint for the ideal snowman according to science.

“All the signs point to snow falling this festive season and hopefully this formula will see households all over the UK inspired to create mathematically marvellous snowmen.”