Posted by: nedpelger | February 8, 2010

Building an Igloo

My son-in-law, grandson and I built a fine igloo this weekend. Since the plowing of our driveway left a big pile of snow, we decided to tunnel.

Actually, we began by trying to make snow blocks to lay in place to form an igloo. That didn’t work. The snow simply doesn’t pack well enough to be stable.

So we started with this big pile of snow and took our shovels to shape and tamp. We tried to create some increased density in the snow. Then we started to tunnel.

After about 4′ of tunnel, we made the room more expansive. I had some significant concerns about the stability of the snow, but it seemed to be holding up well.The photo below shows my grandson Clay checking out the progress.

We eventually got ourselves into the igloo. The photo shows the dog barking at us from the outside. For some reason, she would only come in for a few seconds, then run right back out. Maybe she was a bit smarter than us?

As we built the igloo, I kept thinking about the relative dangers. Snow only weighs 18 pounds per cubic foot, about 6 times less than soil. So that made me feel a little better. Also, I kept tamping the cut areas, trying to make sure the snow would act as an arch and transfer the gravity loads around the opening. In the end, I’m still not sure if it’s a stupid thing to have built and occupied this thing (photo of the 3 of us in the igloo).

So what do you think? Was it a stupid risk or just some reasonable fun to build the igloo?


  1. I have three grandsons, I have, and will continue to share those irretrievable moments. It’s life your living, carry on.

  2. Now that is one COOL blog posting!

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