About those igloos

Here is the largest igloo we constructed. It has an inside diameter of 11 feet. Click for a larger image. I know that there are a couple of groups that would like us to build one soon. Not as a shelter — just for fun.

She is standing at the entrance tunnel. We do not use the traditional method of cutting and fitting blocks of snow. This igloo is meant to last.

If there is enough snow, and there is time, it is a good idea to have the entrance below the foundation of the igloo. The foundation is made by stamping the snow that will be under the walls. This work-hardens the snow. The advantage is that it both keeps the weather out and the strong foundation slows the collapse of the igloo.

The longevity of this igloo is assured by its profile. It is not spherical, it is catenary. All snow flows or sags. If this igloo is not exposed to heat and sun, it can last for weeks, or months.

It makes a great shelter. The wind cannot blow it away. The snow is good insulation so that it is comfortable and quiet inside. The wall are 8-inches thick, so that in daylight it is not dark inside. With a little ventilation, it is possible to cook inside — you cannot accidentally burn it down. With a trench in the middle, it is possible to stand up in there.

I have a few more pics of that igloo here: 11-foot igloo set at Flickr

We use this device for building these igloos: GrandShelters Igloo Construction Tool

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2 Responses to “About those igloos”

  1. 1 Neath December 23, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    Wow! Sounds like fun. At least you have snow. Here in Montreal we have nothing but rain these days.


  2. 2 Robert December 23, 2006 at 7:28 pm

    Ah yes… we have snow. Lots actually. But not at low altitude in the urban and suburban regions around Vancouver. We did have some snow down here, but it quickly melted. Its now about 2 degrees C, and the rain has stopped until tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow’s rain will probably be sleet or snow on the upper half of the local Mountains.

    Yes, building igloos is fun. There is a gang that want to head up to the local hills to build one during the holidays next week. I’m looking forward to it.

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