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Andersonville man’s backyard igloo a warm place to fight ‘cabin fever’

Updated: February 8, 2014 6:30AM



Darick Maasen’s Andersonville apartment is filled with all manner of fascinating, peculiar things: a human skull from Tibet, a live albino salamander and his dead pet eel preserved in a glass jar.

But it’s the 31-year-old’s backyard that has been drawing the gawkers lately.

Maasen, an art director for a Northbrook marketing agency, has spent the last few days building an igloo.

The 8-foot-tall snow dome took Maasen and his buddies two days to build, a project that began Friday night and was completed before the brutal freeze swooped in.

“It takes an incredible amount of snow to make one,” said Maasen, who built an even larger one after 2011’s “Snowpocalypse.” “It’s not just snow, it’s packed snow. And you can’t just use any snow — it’s the top layers and you’re avoiding the pee snow and the dirty snow you find in the city.”

Maasen, who has a thick mountain-man beard, said he built the igloo to help combat “cabin fever” and “to spice things up a little.”

Late Monday afternoon, he trekked out through the wind-sculpted snow in his backyard and showed off his creation.

Outside the igloo, the cold burns the extremities in an instant.

Inside, a hat feels too warm. There’s a faint odor of beer — a reminder of the party Maasen had to celebrate the igloo’s completion.

“We counted, and at one point we had 17 people in there,” he said.

He’s planning a sleepover inside the igloo Wednesday. But if it gets too cold, he has an option most Eskimos don’t.

“It’s just a few steps from my house,” he said.

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