As far as temporary shelters go, igloos have to be the ‘coolest’. So on your next visit to the snow, why not take a leaf out the Inuits’ book and try your mittened hand at building your very own igloo.
Gather your tools
Bring your determination and leave your lazy bones back at your more-permanent, less-melty accommodation. Oh, and you’ll also need:
- A saw – cut your time spent making blocks in half.
- Snow shovel – let your tools do the work for you.
- Waterproof gloves – protect your hardworking hands.
- A mate – or five. You’ll want as many hands on deck as possible.
- Source out dry, hard-packed snow to cut your blocks. Whip out your saw and shovel and get your blocks under way. We suggest making blocks that are about 1 metre long, 40 cm high and 20 cm deep for your bottom layers, and gradually get smaller. You may want to have one person on block creation, and the other on placement duties.
- Smooth your blocks with the saw. Then get placing. You’ll want to pop them down in a circle, working your way up. Create your igloo’s entrance cutting out a basic door frame shape using your shovel or saw.
- Start creating the dome shape. Overlap the blocks and have them begin leaning inwards (if you need to use a stick to support the blocks on top until the dome is complete, we won’t tell anyone).
- When you get to the moment of glory – the final block placement – pick a block that is slightly too large for the last opening at the top. Wiggle and shimmy it into place, shaping the snow around it.
- Shower your structure in loose snow, packing it in around all the gaps like grouting between tiles. Then work on the inside, smoothing the floor by hand.
- Doors, handles and hinges are a bit beyond the structural properties of snow, so to keep the wind out, you’ll want to dig a hole at your entrance. Then build a little pergola over your head with two blocks in a triangle shape to protect your head as you enter. Then cover up the rest of the exposed entrance.
- Make sure that you have adequate ventilation in your igloo. Punch little ventilation holes in the walls and roof to allow you to keep you breathing – oxygen will be, of course, a very important factor in your enjoyment of your igloo.
Then deck out your crib! Light up a small camping stove, create some fancy snow furniture, or build a little sleeping platform to rest your weary head.
Please note: These instructions cover the basics of igloo building and shouldn’t act as a replacement for expertise and training. We recommend building your igloo near your less slushy, more permanent accommodation in one of our resorts – you’ll definitely want access to a warm shower and a cup of hot chocolate after your mammoth effort!