One wintry day last January while my kids and one of their friends were pelting me with snowballs I figured it was time for a little distraction for them.
I asked them if they fancied helping me build a little home in our garden from snow.
As you could guess they were up for it. I like to think that given the chance most kids would be up for something like this.
So off we started. We gathered up as much snow as we could to form a mound. You can produce a shelter like this quicker if you pack all your rucksacks into the centre and pile snow around them. Then when you dig it out you can just pull the rucksacks out. We just used snow though.
When you think you have enough snow piled up you need to compact it down as much as possible. I used the back of a spade for this. I have read that it is advised to let the snow settle for 24hrs but in any sort of survival situation make the best of what you have. I found that after really packing it down it was very strong. I am sure different types of snow will react in different ways.
I cut down a load of sticks and stuck them all into the dome to a depth of about 30cms with a little bit left protruding at the surface. This is helpful when you are excavating the snow out.
I used a saw and spade to dig the snow out.
When I came into contact with one of the sticks I would stop excavating that area and move on.
The main bulk of the interior of the Quinzhee came out easily but I did spend quite a while smoothing the inner surface down. Both to ensure the snow was still packed well and to stop any drip points forming.
My daughter is lying fully flat here. When I tried it I had to curl up slightly.
The boys were happy.
The structure stayed up for about a week before the thaw made it to unstable for the kids to go into it.