A little while ago, while living in Chamonix, me and a friend decided to build an igloo, there was enough snow around and we didnt feel like catching the bus to go snowboarding, and this is what we achieved, an awesome igloo, good enough to live in, if we didnt have a warm cosy apartment a few metres away.
Step 1: Materials and equipment
First things first, you'l need snow, and lots of it.
And a pair of gloves.
and thats it,
as long as the snow holds together and you can make bricks out of it, then you wont need anything else, maybe a beer or two or a tea and coffee break to warm you up a bit.
Step 2: Start building the base
Mark out a nice circle where you want your igloo to be, make sure you have a nice base and level floor as this will be easier for when you put your furniture in : )
Build up the base and make sure you have a firm and wide layer of snow around the circle making sure you left a gap where the entrance will be.
Using the traditional brick laying technique (putting one brick on top of the last layers two bricks, see picture 3), Keep building up the base, slowly working your way round making sure you go layer by layer, and making sure when you add a new brick that it is fixed in place using other snow as a type of cement to keep it there.
At first you can just build the walls so they are vertical, but as your igloo is increasing in height make sure you add the snow bricks so they are slightly diagonal, pointing in a bit, so it can form the roof as you reach your prefered height.
Step 4: Adding windows
You might want to add some windows to your igloo, this would be best done mid way through building, as you wouldn't want to punch a hole through your igloo, only to let it collapse on you.
So halfway through building just miss a brick in the wall and make sure you form a good enough arch for the next layer to sit on.
Step 5: Forming the roof
The roof was the hardest bit to do but we managed by adding snow slowly to the top, making sure it was firmly attached to the previous layer, working our way up going around evenly as we went along until they met in the middle.
Step 6: Finished Igloo
Ok it took us the most part of an afternoon to complete but we finally finished it, it was getting dark, cold and snowing so we finished just in time.
It was very spacious and could fit at least 3 people sitting comfortably and we also had a place to put our beers, keeping them nice and cold.
Overnight the snow turned to ice, making it strong enough for kids to jump on, for awhile, until the bigger kids started doing the same, poor igloo died within 3 nights. We couldn't guard it all the time. Damn kids!!