The weather is getting colder and there are a lot of people unaware of how to stay safe in the winter. This begs the question though — are people prepared to survive if they are caught out in a blizzard?
Many of those who run into trouble in the snow are usually playing with their snowmobiles, skis or have just gotten stuck in their cars. There are ways to build snow shelters that will protect one from the elements and keep ones body from succumbing to hypothermia.
Snow cave: This is the quickest emergency shelter one can build in the snow. It can help you escape impending weather and are built with minimal exertion. Exerting oneself too much in the snow: creates a higher chance of succumbing to the elements.
1. Find the best location by looking for proper snow consistency. Any type of snow that is good for building a snowman is good for building a snow cave. It should pack easily and building into a drift is easy when the snow is like this.
2. Start by digging up. Remember hot air rises and cold air sinks. This creates a heat trap while allowing the colder air to escape. Create your roof like a bell. It keeps its shape better and will stop it from sagging when your body heat gets trapped. When hollowing out the shape, create a platform that is higher than the entrance. This will allow one to sleep or keep warm.
Tree pit: In deep snow there is usually a pocket that is formed under evergreen trees. You can burrow underneath these boughs and make a shelter.
Working slowly will ensure that the snow won’t fill back into the hole. Dig until one reaches ground level. Cover the bottom with branches to keep insulated. Pack the snow around the shelter to keep the walls from falling down. Cover the hole that was dug to keep the heat in and snow out.
Quinzee (or snow igloo): This is the most time-consuming shelter. If there is an impending storm, it would not be recommended to build this.
Mount up a large pile of snow. This should be six to ten feet wide and around four feet tall. Let the snow sit if time allows to create a more malleable consistency.
Tunnel to the middle of the pile by pushing the cleared snow to the outside. Try and keep the structure as circular as possible. This will help keep the structure from collapsing and will distribute the weight.
Carve upwards. Slowly carve upwards inside the dome. Scrape in an arc and continue until you have a space to stretch out into.
When you hollow out your structure sometimes holes will appear in the walls. Patch them with more snow and continue on. Once your structure is relatively patched, make sure your door is facing away from the wind or has a wind block.
Having a shovel when playing out in the snow is a great idea. It’s always good in case there is a need later on. If one does have it when one needs it, things will be easier overall. Be prepared when playing in the snow. Stay safe and toasty.