‘High School Musical’: The Snow in This Scene Was Created With Potato Flakes

For many years, High School Musical has held a place in Disney fans’ hearts. What started with one Disney Channel Original Movie exploded into a worldwide phenomenon, including two more movies, and more recently, a spinoff series on Disney+.

The Cast of "High School Musical 3" - Corbin Bleu, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Monique Coleman and Zac Efron visit MTV's "TRL" at MTV studios in Times Square on October 21, 2008 in New York City | Theo Wargo/WireImage
The Cast of “High School Musical 3” – Corbin Bleu, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Monique Coleman and Zac Efron visit MTV’s “TRL” at MTV studios in Times Square on October 21, 2008 in New York City | Theo Wargo/WireImage

‘High School Musical’ was a cultural phenomenon

To this day, High School Musical is viewed as one of the most successful Disney Channel Original Movies. It started with the original movie released in 2006, where Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens play star-crossed lovers who end up at the same high school.

High School Musical 2, released the following year, remains Disney Channel’s highest-rated DCOM premieres to date, with over 17 million viewers tuning in. The original HSM also ranks in the top 10 highest-rated DCOM premieres with over 7 million viewers.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year was the end of the trilogy that fans wanted, and was also monumental as it was also released in theaters. Today, fans of the movies — as well as younger people who maybe didn’t grow up with them — can revisit the HSM universe with Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical The Series.

Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron at the premiere of "High School Musical 3" at the Cinemark Polanco on October 30, 2008 in Mexico City | Victor Chavez/WireImage
Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron at the premiere of “High School Musical 3” at the Cinemark Polanco on October 30, 2008 in Mexico City | Victor Chavez/WireImage

Some of the special effects used in ‘High School Musical’ were inventive

The magic of High School Musical is obvious from the start, when Troy and Gabriella first meet. It’s New Year’s Eve, and the two are on vacation at a ski resort and ringing in the new year together as strangers. Snow starts falling, and the moment becomes the beginning of their romance.

Except the snow wasn’t even snow at all. According to IMDb, the fake snow used in the scene to make sure they register on camera was actually potato flakes being sprayed on Hudgens and Efron as they filmed the scene.

Actress Teri Hatcher (center) poses with High School Musical stars (left to right):  Ashley Tisdale, Monique Coleman, Corbin Bleu and Kaycee Stroh during the red carpet arrivals for the gala of Disney's High School Musical: The Ice Tour at the Staples Center on October 5, 2007 in Los Angeles, California | Bob Riha Jr/WireImage
Actress Teri Hatcher (center) poses with High School Musical stars (left to right): Ashley Tisdale, Monique Coleman, Corbin Bleu and Kaycee Stroh during the red carpet arrivals for the gala of Disney’s High School Musical: The Ice Tour at the Staples Center on October 5, 2007 in Los Angeles, California | Bob Riha Jr/WireImage

RELATED: Zac Efron Met ‘1 of My Frickin’ Heroes’ While Vacationing With a ‘High School Musical’ Connection

Other movies have used fake snow

Of course, creating movie magic with snow is difficult in places where it does snow, and impossible in places where it doesn’t. Using fake snow was nothing new in High School Musical‘s day.

Popular Mechanics published a list of some of the materials that have been used to create the visual effect of snow on screen since the beginning days of cinema. Charlie Chaplin’s 1925 silent film The Gold Rush, for example, used salt and flour to mimic the look of snow.

The iconic Technicolor movie The Wizard of Oz was notably dangerous to film for everyone involved. The “snow” used on screen is actually asbestos, which has become known to be terribly harmful for people to be around. In the beloved film It’s a Wonderful Life, snow was created by mixing water, sugar, and soap flakes with foamite, a substance used in fire extinguishers.

By the turn of the century, advancements had been made in film to make it look like fresh snowfall. In The Day After Tomorrow, for example, winter scenes were created using a material made from recycled paper called SnowCel.