Each winter I make a little wish that we will have at least one snow fall with enough snow to make a quinzhee. You are excused if you call this an igloo, as I did too until I learnt the technical different between the two. An igloo is built with snow blocks, one by one, as you would with bricks, where as a quinzhee is a mound of snow that is hollowed out from the inside. An igloo is structurally sounder, but a quinzhee is a quicker temporary structure, that can provide shelter, or in our case, entertainment!

It is not a difficult thing to make, but requires a lot of snow, of the right consistency, and some labor. This one took me about 3 hours to make, on my own. I have made many, and I work quickly, so it may take a beginner longer. More hands make less work so I recommend finding helpers. My husband prefers to sit inside drinking tea and waving to me from the window.

Using a snow shovel I collect snow from around the yard and pile it into a huge mass, 4-5ft hight. Along the way I give the pile a good whack and pat with the snow shovel to make the snow dense and firm. Once a massive pile has formed, then I start digging out the inside. I use the snow shovel for this too, and when a good opening has been cleared, I work with a small hand held garden spade. With the inside cleared out and finished,  I neaten the outside by smoothing and sanding it all over with my gloves. This process is physically rewarding, and I always feel like I have worked hard at the end. Some snow is more challenging to work with than other snow. This snow was very light and powdery and so not the best to work with. Sticky snow is the easiest!

You can see more of our snow caves!


6 thoughts on “Quinzhee

  1. I am motivated. The snow up here, right now, is so fluffy…I don’t think it’d be feasable? I’ll give it a go, maybe tomorrow. Thanks again for the ideas!!

  2. Ours was fluffy too, but after you make the mound and press it a little it will compact. You need a big mound though… sometimes the day after you can dig it out.

  3. Such a foreign thing to me, to be able to do this! It looks so sweet and cozy. I loved your ice lantern post as well. Sending some warm summer wishes from Oz (but not enough to melt your creations!).

  4. Yes, I know, I am like child in the snow, for the novelty of it all… Thanks you Chris, thanks for the warm wishes, much appreciated right now, feb is always a challenge as the body and soul crave warmth and green. xoxo

  5. Your blog and instsgram feed are inspiring. We had snow last week in Surrey, UK but not enough to make anything this spectacular – my children would adore this! Sarah x

  6. Thank you Sarah, Yes I saw snow this week in the Uk, in many feeds, and so lovely seeing everyone grateful for it. Yes we are lucky to have enough snow to really get creative with. I did not grow up with snow, so I am a little like a child, find simple joy in it! Thank you for your kind comment. Kirsten

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *