There’s a Calgary Course That Teaches You How to Build an Igloo
The University of Calgary’s Outdoor Centre’s Snow Shelter course teaches city-folk starting February 24.
Despite popular thinking from our southern neighbours, most Canadians wouldn’t know the first thing about building an igloo, let alone surviving in one. The University of Calgary’s Snow Shelter course, offered by the Outdoor Centre, aims to change that.
Albi Sole, the program’s coordinator, says participants are surprised to learn how comfortable snow shelters can be. “It’s a bit of a revelation to folks,” he says.
Course participants vary, from families looking for a fun night away to hikers looking for practical skills. Participants spend one evening in the classroom, learning about the techniques and equipment needed to build structures like quinzees, trenches and igloos. They then spend a full weekend constructing shelters, which the adventurous can stay in overnight.
A properly built structure is completely windproof and will always warm up to zero degrees from body heat. “You could survive for days in a really bad storm,” Sole says.
Sole advises anyone interested in trying to build their own structures to have a backup plan for shelter the first time they try and to be aware of the dangers that come from improper ventilation and the risk of collapsing.
However, built and maintained properly, snow shelters can be the next best thing to sitting by the fireplace on a cold winter night.
The snow shelters course takes place on Tuesdays and weekends from Feb. 24 to March 29, calgaryoutdoorcentre.ca.