Picture of Build a better Quinzhee hut
A quinzhee hut is a type of temporary snow shelter, as distinct from more permanent ice-block igloos, that was historically used in survival situations by Native Americans, Scandinavians, and others living in cold northern latitudes. Traditionally, the builder would create a mound of snow 4 or 5 feet high, allow it a few hours to settle and conglomerate, then hollow it out to create a small cavern or snow hut for shelter from the elements.

In real survival situations this ancient method is tried and true, but for the enterprising modern snow-architect there are a few tips and tricks that can turn a quinzhee from a crude temporary shelter into an awesome winter-long snow fort that's larger, sturdier, better lit, and faster to build.

Step 1: Materials

To build a modern quinzhee hut you will need:
  • Snow, and lots of it!
  • shovels, rakes, and hand trowels
  • some shish-kebab skewers (or straws, twigs, etc.)
  • large plastic trash bags and twisty-ties
  • spray bottle of water
  • cake pans
  • and more water
It sounds like an esoteric list of ingredients for a snow fort, I realize, but years of building these every winter has gradually improved our method to be as fast and efficient as possible.

Love this! I only wish I saw it a week earlier.

Wyattr551232 years ago
The water method may make it sturdier, but it will also make the thing colder. I would never cheat when building a quinzee, because when I build them I will be sleeping in them, and I don't want to risk my safety on some might I say lazy, twenty first century methods. If it ain't broke, and has worked for thousands of years, why fix it.
nicwitzke2 years ago
Thank you for this FANTASTIC 'ible. I have been looking for some detailed, down to earth instruction on how to build a snow fort/Quinzhee hut. This 'ible was just what i needed.
(Now i just need it to snow)
ATTILAtheHUNgry (author)  nicwitzke2 years ago
Glad you liked it. It was a lot of fun to make. I hope you get some snow!
Thanks, we just got some snow, and I went sledding at my friends winery/grape orchard and were pulling each other behind their MULE (all terrain vehicle). The snow was good, but not enough to make a quinzee hut.
Happy Holidays!
Lorddrake3 years ago
now if only it would snow here I can try this out.