How to: Build a quinzhee

A couple of days ago I got the chance to learn how to build a quinzhee – like the one I slept in in a previous post. Great fun and satisfying when complete. Take a look.

Compact the snow by foot. Tiring work when the snow is this deep and soft.
Start shovelling snow into the centre and compact regularly.
Keep shovelling and compacting until the cone is complete.
Allow snow to harden for at least 2 hours. In this case we let it harden overnight.
Hollow out the inside. By far the most fun part!
Walah! A nice cosy quinzhee complete with two sleeping platforms. This took me two hours to dig out alone.

Just poke a couple of breathing holes through the roof and you’re all done.

My first quinzhee!

So all up you’re looking at a six hour job. It’s not easy but I got to say digging out the inside of your own “snow cave” into any style you like is really fun and exciting. It’s like sculpting your own “home” right before your eyes.

Now I just hope it snowed enough so I can build another one on the lake. Then try and find good hard snow (so far very elusive this year) so I can try building an igloo!

5 thoughts on “How to: Build a quinzhee”

  1. Hi Dan, so good to hear from you, what an amazing thing to do. Is it reasonably comfortable inside or is it like sleeping on a brick wall?
    Want to talk sometime soon let me know when via email.
    Love Mum xoxox

  2. Happy to send you a few bucks for a hostel Dan – didn’t know you were doing it so tough!

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