Building Igloos in the Zillertal Alps

Have you ever been tempted to try and build a real igloo?

Build an igloo in the Zillertal

©Elisabeth Frontull

Created by Birgit Fischer

©Stefanie Eder

 

Then join the Actionclub Zillertal for a unique experience in the snowy landscape of the Zillertal Alps and learn the art of igloo building, mastered by the Eskimos centuries ago.

 

Escape the hustle and bustle  

After hearing that several of our friends had spent a day on the mountain, far from the hustle and bustle of daily life, building an igloo with Actionclub Zillertal, my husband and I also decided to sign ourselves up for this experience. 

The weather was incredible when, at 9am the very next day, dressed warmly and kitted out with snow shoes, we set off in a group of seven. 

Our rucksacks were stuffed full with spare clothing and snacks and provisions for the day. 

The hike up was strenuous but also beautiful. For around one and a half hours, we walked through snowy forest surrounded by chocolate-box views. 

After we found the perfect spot, with plenty of snow (the best place is at the base of a gentle slope) we had reached our destination. After a short break and a snack we were ready to get to work. 

Our guide gave us some expert instructions and help before we began, step by step, to build our igloo. 

©Action Club Zillertal

Step 1: dig, dig, dig!

 

 

First of all, we threw our rucksacks and equipment in a pile on the ground and buried them. To do this we had to move a lot of snow. We warmed up quickly and started to sweat. In the end we had made a pile of snow with a diameter of around 3 to 4 meters at the height of the igloo base.

 

©Action club Zillertal

Step 2: Stamp down the pile of snow

 

 

In order to make the snow strong and compact, we constantly had to stamp down on it to compress it. Afterwards, we shovelled more snow until we had made a huge pile of compact snow, at least as tall as a person. 

 

Important: The igloo floor should be at least 1m above the ground.

 

 

©Action Club Zillertal

Step 3: Excavate an entrance and cave

Now we could start to dig into the pile of snow and retrieve our rucksacks and equipment. This would be our igloo room, which we could then enlarge to a suitable size. When building an igloo, the entrance should always be lower than the igloo floor to stop warm air escaping. As digging above your head is a laborious job, our guide kindly volunteered to do this part for us. 

WARNING: Danger of collapse with risk of suffocation! 

 

Step 4: Measure the wall thickness 

This type of igloo needs thicker walls than an igloo which is built using blocks of snow. A wall thickness of 30-50cm is recommended, depending on how compact the snow is. So that our guide would know how far we could dig out the igloo, the wall thickness was marked with ski poles in advance. 

The ski poles were stuck into the outside of the igloo up to the appropriate depth. From the inside, we knew we could not dig any further than these markers.  

 

©Action Club Zillertal

 

After around two and a half hours we had done it! We were all very proud of our successful construction. Tired but satisfied, we ended the day with a snack, a warm tea and a schnapps before retrieving our snow shoes and making our way slowly back to the valley. 

 

 

If you are keen to build your very own igloo, then Actionclub Zillertal can make this dream come true as part of a wonderful and relaxing day. We can heartily recommend this amazing experience. 

Yours, Birgit