February 11, 2013

Quinzhee snow huts

Well, we got a lot of snow in Somerville last weekend, a reported 71cm (28"). All the shoveling piled up some impressively tall snow heaps. While annoying from a shoveling perspective since one must sling the snow up higher and higher, these heaps looked like snow huts waiting to happen. A Quinzhee is a pile of settled snow that you dig the center out of to make a shelter. I've never made one before, but had heard about them from my friend Ben and read about them in mountaineering books.

 It was very windy, so it drifted impressively in many places.

I spent about 5 hours shoveling on Saturday in multiple stints, and another hour or so on Sunday.

Consequently my back and arms are now excruciatingly sore! Violet came out with me on Saturday to play in the snow.

On Saturday I piled up some additional snow in a few places beyond what was left by drifting and my shoveling efforts, and let it sinter overnight.

On Sunday the kids and I went out in the morning to play in the backyard and I hollowed out the snow pile I had made there.

Luckily I had some helpers with the shoveling!

Violet hanging out in the snow house.

Millie taking a turn.

Violet made a snow tower.

Buster spent quite a lot of time facedown in the snow.

After the kids went in I reshoveled the driveway from where the plows had filled it again, then hollowed out the two snow houses in the front yard. The first one was pretty small, more like a snow doghouse. Plus I misjudged the location of a bush in there, which cut into the interior space.

The other one in the front was the largest of the three.

When hollowed out, there was plenty of room for me and the kids to sit inside. This snow was perfect for building Quinzhees!

What Buster, you don't think the roof is going to fall in do you?!?

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