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Filed under: Fun,Travel — Thomas @ 14:50


Tomorrow I'm leaving on an 8 day snowboarding trip. This time however, after some people dropped out for various reasons (weddings are a reason these days, go figure), we end up being just two. My best friend and me. It took us all of 10 seconds to decide whether we should still go or not.

How often does one get the chance to be 10 years younger again for just one week ? And how often do you get that chance having the experience and resources of someone 10 year older ?

I've been thinking about things I want to do that week. My current plan is that we should go up the mountain at the end of the day with sleeping bags and plastic, make an iglo, sleep in the iglo, and ride down first thing in the morning, before the lifts are open. And then go up the lifts again together with the first people, and have first slope - again.

I realize 80% of the readers have checked out by now. For those still here, please send in your tips, suggestions and comments. I don't even know if what I want to do is legal, let alone safe, and Google isn't helping me much. Anyone ever built an iglo at a ski resort to sleep in ?

Suggestions I've already had from friends:

  • don't
  • if you have to, do it in an area with trees (so the dozers don't flatten you)
  • if you die I'll hate you forever
  • I don't want to read about you in the paper
  • make holes in the iglo to not get snowed in and die of asphyxiation (actually that one's from the net)
  • seriously, don't

I should actually call up my dad - he actually builds an iglo and sleeps in it at night in his garden here in Belgium any time there is enough snow. I have bad memories of being forced as a child to go out there in the snow with bad gloves rolling up blocks for his iglo.


  1. It’s great fun, you should do it. Make sure it’s well ‘sign-posted’ so you don’t get skiers either going over the top, or crashing into the side. Sleep off the floor to stay warm and allow cold air to sink to the ground. Keep a candle lit for heat. Leave a ski-pole in the air hole in the ceiling, it will allow you to easily clear it if it blocks. Most of that is obvious, sorry :)

    Comment by John Drinkwater — 2009-03-05 @ 15:14

  2. “I don’t want to read about you in the paper”

    Heh. My friends said something similar to me when I took my first trip to Japan. “Don’t end up on the news!”

    … I ended up on one TV show and at least one local news paper article.

    Comment by Sean — 2009-03-05 @ 15:34

  3. You need this book: How to Build an Igloo, And Other Snow Shelters, by Norbert E. Yankielun

    Found (and bookmarked a while ago) via the Cool Tools blog: http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/003371.php (there’s also a cool video on that page).

    Comment by Christian — 2009-03-05 @ 20:43

  4. Hey, that is some great idea! By all means report how it went afterwards. I would also recommend sleeping somewhere beside places snowcats could go (i.e. forrest, if any). You may not need an igloo at all, provided you have got a good sleeping bags, some clothes matraces and a tent (I have slept on the snow in a tent and I have slept high in the mountains but never both, but it should be doable). But I guess it is a part of the adventure. Take a shovel with you, it might help a great deal.

    But seriously, do it!

    Comment by drew — 2009-03-05 @ 21:56

  5. If you don’t know how to build a snow shelter then you probably don’t know how to judge avalanche risk. And I only have a clue how to do that at the start of the day, not the evening. I think it’s too risky.

    Comment by Murray Cumming — 2009-03-05 @ 22:16

  6. thomas, that’s definately the worst idea I’ve heard all year.

    Comment by JR — 2009-03-06 @ 14:05

  7. I helped build a snow igloo once and spent 5 minutes in it with several other people and my dog. What I remember is that there was a lot of condensation. Everyone blamed it on the dog, so maybe you won’t have this problem … however, I’d make sure you have some way to keep your sleeping bag dry on top and bottom.

    Have fun!

    Comment by Stormy — 2009-03-06 @ 17:57

  8. Murray: I guess that that if he sleeps on the top of a mountain there will be no avalanches as they [the avalanches] generaly tend to run down the slope, not up.

    Comment by drew — 2009-03-06 @ 19:33

  9. Igloos take too much time.
    You can dig a trench cover it with a tarp
    and you will be okay. Just keep the sleepbags dry.
    I live in the Pacific NorthWest.

    Comment by Paul Campbell — 2009-03-06 @ 21:40

  10. My brother and I did this in the snow once, just not on a ski slope. We packed snow into office type trash cans to make the blocks.

    Comment by Russ — 2009-03-07 @ 09:09

  11. If you know a mountain trooper, talk to him. These guys do what you want to do all the time. Apart from that, you shouldn’t build an igloo; you should build a bivouac shelter instead. I was planning on doing the same thing with a friend once, too – unfortunately we didn’t have enough snow. Oh, also be sure to tell someone what you’re doing and when you’re doing it! And have fun!

    Comment by Raphael — 2009-03-07 @ 16:43

  12. drew, he’s unlikely to find anything really “at the top” enough. If he does then it’ll have its own dangers, such as falling off, being run over, or being frozen by the wind.

    Comment by Murray Cummign — 2009-03-09 @ 17:46

  13. murray: well, it depends on the ski resort he is planning to go to (he speaks of lifts, so some kind of ski resort will be involved). I understand the plan is to take a last lift going up – and some lifts go just to the top of the mountain.

    Then of course it depends on the height of that mountain – since he is European, I suspect he plans to go to the Alps. True, there are mountains over 3500m heigh with ski lifts, but then there are also mountains not even 2000m heigh, just above the forrest line. There it should be fairly safe, provided he has got a good sleeping bag and lots of clothes. He will probably also want to make sure it is not going to snow and that there are not going to be any windstorms that night and wake up regularly to check if that is really the case, but I really do think that if enaugh precautions are taken, it should not be much more dangerous than driving or so.

    Comment by drew — 2009-03-10 @ 00:08

  14. I think it should be a lot of fun really, not sure if I’d be brave enough to do it, but if you are, and can guarantee you’re going to be safe, do it. I started even thinking about places in some ski resorts I know, and the best thing I’ve came up with is in an area with trees, where I guess you’ll be better protected from the wind. If not, on the top of the resort’s lifts, there are usually small buildings which you can use to protect you from the wind, although not sure you are allowed to stay there.

    Anyway, just let us know how it went if you finally did it

    Comment by Rodrigo Moya — 2009-03-10 @ 19:37

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