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CRESTWOOD, Mo. - Drew Ellison loves snowboarding, but driving 30 minutes from Crestwood to Hidden Valley Ski Resort wasn't always possible. So he decided to build his own snow machine.

"I was looking around online to see if there was a way I could get snow," said Ellison, "and I came across this on a website. I thought 'Hey, why can't I build it?'"

"With plans from the internet, the Lindbergh high school sophomore spent about $500, mostly at the hardware store.

"At first it was quite difficult, then I found a forum which gave me a lot of advice, and after that it was quite easy," Ellison said.

Drew's mother says the snow machine became her son's hobby, as he experimented with more powerful motors and reconfigured the equipment. The temperature has to be below freezing to make snow, and the colder the air, the better quality snow.

Despite Wednesday temperatures in the 60's, there was still a couple of feet of snow in the backyard of Ellison's Crestwood home. A week ago, he estimates the pile was about four feet high. "When I started, I anticipated maybe a few inches of snow overnight if I ran it all night," said Ellison. "But one morning I woke up and I had 6 feet of snow in my backyard."

Enough snow to get a reaction according to Kevin Ellison, Drew's dad.

"People slow down, they do a double take. Are they really seeing what they're seeing?" Kevin said. "We've had people stop and get a handful of snow out of the yard."

With temperatures about to plunge, Drew is already making plans for weekend snowboarding in his backyard, by running his homemade machine several times overnight. How much snow does he hope to make?

"As much as I can."

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