In this Instructable, I will give you the steps to build a snow cave that can protect you for many nights in a winter environment.
Items needed include:
Snow - If you live in Costa Rica, you probably wont be building a snow cave in your back yard.
Snow mobile - or some sort of transportation to get you to a good area. Snow Cat, snow shoes and ski's are all good options too.
Shovel - I like the small aluminum shovels that are collapsible.
Saw - The kind that works best is an old wood handled hand saw. The ones we use are about 36" long. Shorter ones would work but these long ones work great. Lightly coating it with oil before you leave will help.
Ski poles - Sticks and branches will work too but you really need something straight and smooth.
Tarp - We just used a light blue one that you can get anywhere.
Disclaimer: As always, common sense must be used in this or anything you do. This is a SNOW cave. Snow melts!. If the cave starts to collapse, crack or melt at any time during or after the build, abandon it immediately. This is just a guide on how to build a snow cave that has worked for me on two different occasions. I cannot be responsible for the way you build your cave.
OK, lets get started.
I am a volunteer on Search and Rescue (SAR), Fire Fighting and Dive Rescue teams in Colorado. All year, we train on a large variety of topics. In the winters, we train on winter (surprise) survival techniques. I have successfully built and spent nights in two snow caves in different years. We have also built other types of field expedient shelters that are usually less work and can work just as well. The snow cave is my favorite.
My team has a fleet of snowmobiles. This is how we get to our overnight location.
We like to wait until about February or March depending on the snow fall that year. Usually, it takes most of a winter to get a good drift built up. I have been to other areas where drifts build up quickly.