Prairie Public NewsRoom
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Snow Angel Record

Ways To Subscribe

North Dakotans have a lot of fun in the winter months -- sledding, snowmobiling, skiing, and even more simple things like making snow angels. And we’re quite serious about the snow angels. Twice, North Dakotans held the record for most people making snow angels simultaneously.

In fact, North Dakotans actually created the snow angel category in the Guinness Book of Records in 2002, when the State Historical Society organized 1,791 people on state Capitol grounds to flop down and flap. Afterwards, the people of Syracuse, New York made four attempts to take the record, but despite them having a population of around 150,000 at the time (which was about a quarter of North Dakota’s population), they couldn't break the record. It was finally accomplished, however, when students at Michigan Technological University assembled 3,784 students and staff to flap their way to the title in 2006.

It was a short-lived victory however. The people of North Dakota were not going to accept the loss of their title. Marilyn Snyder, who was the curator of education for the Historical Society of North Dakota said, “We need 10,000 people so nobody can take it away from us again.” They planned to hold the event one day after Christmas, but had to postpone due to lack of snow, but on February 17th, 2007 8,962 people simultaneously made snow angels in Bismarck. It was truly a community event, with young children as well as people like Pauline Jager, who was celebrating her 99th birthday. “It’s fun,” she said, “I feel just like a kid.”

A news post from this date that year included pictures of the event. An overhead photo shows thousands of tiny dots with tiny arms and legs, truly giving you an idea of how big the event really was. Another picture shows Rhonda Brown and Larissa Harrison displaying a commemorative snow angels T-shirt, which celebrated the event.

While they didn’t quite hit Snyder’s goal of 10,000, it seems 8,962 is high enough, and North Dakota’s record has sat undisturbed since 2007.

Dakota Datebook written by Lucid Thomas


Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Related Content