Frozen Fort Shelter
A quinzhee is a basic snow shelter made by hollowing out a mound of snow. Building a quinzhee can be a lot of fun, but knowing how to make one is also an important winter survival skill. Try building your own quinzhee and sleeping in it overnight!
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- Snow (lots!)
- Snow shovel
- Measuring tape
- 4 large sticks
- Test the stability of your quinzhee structure by jumping on the roof to make sure it is solid.
- Building a quinzhee will make you sweat. Prevent hypothermia by changing into warm, dry clothes after you finish building your shelter.
- Be sure to destroy your quinzhees after your adventure so that no one gets hurt playing in them.
Building Phase (1+ hour):
- Build a snow mound that is about 2 metres tall and 3 metres across.
- Shape the mound into a dome and allow it to sinter for 90 minutes, minimum.
- Hollow out the mound (from the top, down) and stop digging outward when you reach the sticks.
- Use the last foot of snow to make raised snow beds.
- Dig a narrow trench between the beds all the way to the ground. This allows cold air to flow down and out of the quinzhee.
Assembly (30 minutes):
- Once you’ve finished the interior, smooth out the walls into a dome shape.
- Remove a couple of the sticks andleave the holes as ventilation for fresh air and to release carbon dioxide.
- Light a candle in the middle of the quinzhee, on the floor, to “glaze” the interior walls for 15-20 minutes. This strengthens the stability of the structure and prevents water from dripping on you while you sleep.
Congratulations, you’ve completed your quinzhee! After trying it out for a day activity or an overnight sleep, take a beat to reflect on the activity—what worked, what didn’t, and were there areas for improvement?
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Photo Credit: 163rd IIT Scouts
Don’t forget to tag @scoutscanada to share photos of your fun adventure!