Hilchot Sheleg – Laws of Snow #2

Making and throwing a snowball
Q: Is it permissible to make a snowball on Shabbat?
A: The Rambam (Hilchot Shabbat 10:12) writes that putting all sorts of things together is forbidden on Shabbat because of "boneh" (building). Some argue that making a snowball on Shabbat is therefore forbidden (Shemirat Shabbat Ke-Hilchata ibid). Some explain, however, that since a snowball is temporary it is permissible. One may therefore be lenient. Making snowballs before Shabbat which one sets aside to throw on Shabbat (within an eruv) is permissible. There is a question about throwing a snowball since it is crushed. One can argue that if the snowball is crushed it is an "unintended act which is not beneficial to him," since the thrower wants a full snowball to hit the other person. This is not the intention of the one who is hit, but we follow the intention of the thrower.