Building With Snow

Emergency survival shelter built with snow. Also called a quinzee

For thousands of years there have been humans in some of the more hostile environment on the planet. Places such as the north pole and other arctic regions. In these environments, there are often very few trees and sometimes, none at all. This means that the native people of those land are forced to use whatever is available to them to make a shelter for themselves of their family and the most abundant resource in the northern regions, is snow.

If you find yourself in a situation that has left you with no other resource that the abundant snow that falls every year in norther climates, then you are going to need to know how to build yourself a shelter from snow.

The first kind of snow based shelter is the hole, more often called the quinzee. Quite simply, you just dig into a snow drift on a side of a hill or anywhere that the snow is deep enough. The snow will act as an insulator and keep your body heat trapped inside, so that even if it is minus forty degrees outside, you’ll be warm enough to survive inside of your shelter. The only tip that I have for the construction of this type of emergency winter shelter is that you should dig upwards to the rising head does not just pour out of the entrance that you made.

Someone building an Igloo with Snow

The snow hole type of shelter is definitely the easiest to make, but if you are looking for more of a challenge, or looking to make something a little bit more long lasting and creative, you might want to consider building an igloo. The igloo has been built by native northern peoples for thousands of years and it has kept them alive during the dark winter months for just as long. If you want to build an igloo, all that you need is large snow blocks arranged in a half sphere.

I have the same igloo building tip that I had for building a snow hole, remember that heat rises and the entrance to your igloo should lead slightly upwards to the living area to prevent the precious heat from escaping.

Building an igloo does take a lot of patience because as you reach the top part, the blocks are going to have the tendency to fall into it. Just keep at it, think about how the blocks are going to work best together, have even more patience, don’t quit and eventually you will have your very own igloo.


Justin Trovrt has been in plenty of situations that require a level of survival instincts that daily life can not provide. He knows that knowledge is power and wished to share some of his power with anyone who is willing to listen. Follow him at

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