Snow fort building techniques from an expert

There’s something particularly inviting about a snow fort. Maybe it’s the childhood memories of that epic fort you built with your classmates during recess. Perhaps it’s the inevitable bragging rights (and Instagram likes) earned from a perfectly crafted igloo. Or maybe it’s simply knowing that a residence made of snow and ice will cost significantly less than the average Canadian home in today’s red-hot real estate market. 

Whatever the allure, snow forts are cool (literally). And they can be designed in many different ways. If you’re thinking of making a traditional igloo-style fort, Ottawa-based snow-sculptor Dave Osborne recommends using a shovel to mix the snow that is closer to the ground with the snow on the surface (this will help to harden the snow).

You can then pile the snow together and allow it to sit for a couple of hours or overnight, depending on the temperature, so that it can properly freeze. (If you have access to a snowblower, you can use that instead to save yourself the trouble of shovelling the snow into a big pile.) Use a shovel or an ice scraper and poke a hole into the side of the pile, then hollow out the snow on the inside. The cold air that flows in through the hole will harden the interior of the fort.   

Nova Scotia man builds giant snow fort just in time for spring

To prevent your fort from collapsing, stick to circles and arches as opposed to rectangles and squares. A circular window is more secure than a square window, says Osborne. “More curved lines and fewer straight lines will make it stronger.” 

So if you’re thinking of building your own snow fort but need a little inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these ten snow forts and then get your snow gear ready—it’s time to start building!

Read more: Why winter long weekends are secretly the best

Featured Video