Survival Skills: Snow Cave
A snow cave can mean the difference between life and death during a storm, but digging one requires not just know-how but the right conditions: deep snow, a steep slope, and snow of the right consistency for digging.
Begin by digging an entrance large enough for a climber to crawl through. It should be about three feet deep, and dug directly into the slope. The entrance should also be lower than the main chamber to prevent winds from blowing into the cave.
Next, dig the main chamber in, upwards, and to the sides of the portal. Do not dig down. The outer walls should be no less than one foot thick. As the climber digs, he/she pushes the snow to the doorway, where a partner helps shovel the snow outside the cave. Continue to dig until there is enough room for the number of people in the party to lie down, and to sit or stand comfortably. The main chamber should be level and flat.
After the main chamber has been dug, create a ventilation hole with an ice axe. When all occupants are inside, blocks of snow can be placed in the doorway to stop wind from blowing inside.
Survival Skills: Igloo
Igloos can withstand hurricane force winds. Start with a base area, packed down by stamping out the area with your feet. In a work area nearby, a second person should begin harvesting blocks about 2.5 feet wide, 1.5 feet high, and .5 feet deep.
Make the base layer of the igloo, being sure to make the igloo big enough so that up to four or more people can sleep comfortably. One person should work inside, constantly adjusting the blocks and filling in the cracks between the blocks.
The second row of blocks should be cut beveled at the bottom so the layer begins to slant inward toward the middle. Initially, the person inside must work carefully to prevent the blocks from falling; after three or so blocks are placed side by side, they should hold themselves up. Continue to work upward so that the top of the igloo is about shoulder height with the person working inside.
At the very top there will be a hole that can be filled with one single block. After the igloo is completed begin to dig downward to enlarge the inner chamber. The entrance should be dug in below the main chamber area, similar to the snow cave. Cut vents in one or two places for air circulation.