How to Build an Igloo

How to Build an Igloo

If you've been enjoying your skiing in Zugspitz Arena and fancy doing something a little wild and and a little different, why not learn an outdoor winter survival skill...

...such as the art of Igloo building?

Now this is certainly an unique experience, and will give you complete bragging rights, if you're ever caught out in a snow blizzard and need to find shelter. 

This guide is a step-by-step walk-through on how to build an igloo and to give you an idea of what you could get up to if you fancy doing something a little bit different on your next winter break in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena. 

Grab some snow shoes and your ski lift pass, and head out for a day of fun, up in the mountains. 

Your workshop will be hosted by two local ski guides from the area, as they walk you through the stages and steps to build your group igloo. 

Your workshop starts first with snow shoeing, after getting the ski lift up to a perfect spot. The workshop is 4 hours long, which includes refreshments and lunch. The cost is around €45 per person and must be booked before Wednesday 3pm.

The price excludes your lift ticket, which you should already have. Call +43 699 13308 for more details and booking. 

 

Your guide on how to build an igloo

Step 1: Find a flat surface with some depth

The best part of the workshop has to be the location. You can't just build an igloo anywhere. Of course you need to find a location that would offer a room with a view. You will be spending half a day here, so why not pick a stunning location to base yourself for the afternoon. 

If you have a ski pass for your time in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, then you can use this to grab the cable car up to the starting point of your walk deep into the Tirolian wilderness. Otherwise you can buy it at the lift itself, at the bottom.

The next step is to put on your snow shoes ,to make it easy to hike to the best spot, to start building your igloo. It can be a challenge to walk in deep snow without the use of skis or snowshoes, so make sure you have some with you before you head off. Your guide will bring some for you and help you along your path. 

After walking for around 10 to 15 minutes you get to a point in the mountains where you then start to measure the depth, using an avalanche pole to find a spot, around 2 metres deep. Plus you want to ensure the igloo is build on a flat surface, that's quite important. 

 

Step 2: Start to carve out blocks close to your spot 

Using a string connected to your pole, measure out an area of 2 metres around your pole, to lay out the base for the start of your igloo. 

Next, close by using ice saws and snow shovels, start to dig out a hole, to help you to carve out the blocks, which you will use to build the igloo. 

Once you've got enough blocks as a base, start to stack the blocks on top of each other, using the saws to make smooth faces to fit better together. 

 

Step 3: Time to saw in a snail effect 

Once you've build your igloo, up to waist height, it's time to carve out a snail effect around the edges. This will help to build the curve in the igloo, so the blocks can support the structure and become stronger. 

 

Step 4: Break time

You're doing great!

Time to stop and enjoy some mulled wine and goulash soup on a cosy open fire, to get your energy back up. Building an igloo takes great team work and a bit of time, but an igloo is a wonderful reward to enjoy once you do. 

Make sure you have a break half way, to enjoy the wonderful views of the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena and enjoy a tasty outdoor dining experience

 

Step 5: Start to build up the roof 

Continue what you were doing before the snail effect part, but this time close off the roof. You need one - two people to remain inside the igloo, to help support the roof construction from within. The last thing you want at this stage is, for the igloo to cave in, and all your work to go to waste once you've sealed off the room.

 

Step 6: Time to construct the tunnel

Now you have formed your Igloo, and the construction and form is all looking good, you will want to dig out the tunnel one meter deep from the side of the igloo, to form an entrance.

This will create a tunnel going down and under to ensure you can keep the heat within the igloo. Once you've made the hole and build some steps you should be able to get the two team members who have been sitting inside and help get them out.

Then close all the little holes with snow from the outside.

And here you have it, a completed igloo.

Just a few little steps before you've finished off the build.

 

Step 7: Seal in the heat and secure the walls

Once the construction is complete, climb in through the tunnel with your team mates and stay inside the igloo for around 30 minutes.

This way your body heat will rise and condensation starts to form around the roof and walls of the igloo.

Then leave the igloo for another 30 - 60 minutes while the condensation starts to freeze! The frozen condensation forms a seal around the gaps to ensure the igloo is airtight, retaining all the warmth. How smart is that!

 

Step 8: Enjoy your final igloo creation

I hope you've brought along your sleeping bag, as you will want to climb in and try out a quick snooze.

The temperature inside should remain at a cool but crisp 1 degree celsius (more or less). As the heat rises and remains in the walls of the igloo, making it a perfect shelter to keep warm in even the harshest of environments. Once you're done, it's time to call it a day and head back down the mountain for the final cable car. 

 

So, what are you waiting for!

If you happen to be skiing in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena and fancy doing something a little different, be sure to give an igloo building workshop a go and learn a new winter survival skill. 

 

Also check: A Winter Guide to Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, Austria

 

Travel tip shared by Dave for Travel Dudes.