For Reynoldsburg resident Tyler Cain, February's near-record snowfall was less of a headache than a creative opportunity.

For Reynoldsburg resident Tyler Cain, February's near-record snowfall was less of a headache than a creative opportunity.

And while many of the young and young-at-heart were content to build traditional snowmen, Cain, a 1982 graduate of Reynoldsburg High School, went in a different direction.

When the first snowstorm hit on Feb. 5, he and his girlfriend, Melissa Roberts, got out in his yard at 7437 Lebanon Ave. and began building a snow cat.

The next day, they produced a snow owl.

"I did most of the heavy lifting basically, getting all the snow into shape and she'd come out and we sat out there shaping it with our fingers and knives and knocked it out," Cain said.

He said the cat took about eight hours to complete, mainly because its base was made out of six great big snowballs.

"It wore me out, but that's the fun part," he said.

When the second snowstorm hit, the couple added a penguin to the snow menagerie, but had trouble with the head because the snow was too dry.

Although the three pieces of snow art are gone now, Cain said when they were freshly built, many people would drive by, stop and take photos.

Cain, 44, grew up in Reynoldsburg with his four brothers, Dave, John, Rob and Maurie. When the snow was right, he said, they would go out in the yard and sculpt snow creatures. It became a tradition.

"As a little kid, I just took to it and now, whenever we get a good packin' snow, I try and go out there and do something," Cain said. "A lot of years, it's just too cold, or you don't have the right snow and you can't get it to do anything, but these last couple of snows were great. I just had to get out there.

"I've been waiting a few years to do this," he said.

The snow cat he and Roberts created during the big first snowfall this month stood just over 6-feet tall.

"The cat sure was pretty," his mother, Ellen Cain, said. "Then they built the penguin out of the second storm and when they got to its head, the snow wouldn't pack very good so his head didn't turn out very good."

When her boys were young, she recalled, they built a dinosaur, a bear and a seal out of snow.

"We've lived here 50 years and had five boys and all of them were good with art," she said. "They never went to school for art, but they were all good at it."

There were years when they were growing up when Ohio weather was uncooperative and the Cain brothers couldn't "get a good snow to build with," Tyler Cain said.

"But this year, I had to go crazy, and that's why we did three of them," he said. "We haven't had a good snow like this in years. Quite often, you can only build for a few hours; you need the moisture, real close to a rain is where it's best.

"That was the beauty of it -- once we got 'em up, it went down to like 9 degrees and everything froze solid."

When it comes to winter weather, Cain said he prefers snow.

"It's messy and hard to deal with but I'd rather it be this way than freezing cold and a half inch of rain and slop," he said.