Now for Something Completely Different… Build your own Igloo

If you are looking for a unique way to spend an outdoor winter holiday, why not embrace the traditions of the Inuit people, and build or even sleep in your very own igloo!

“The interior of an igloo is like its own little world — a green yellow light seeps in through the walls and absolutely no sound penetrates from the outside, no matter how loud the wind in the blizzard is howling outside,” wrote Manon von Kaenel in her piece ‘Our family’s tradition of building and sleeping in igloos’ (published on The San Francisco Chronicle blog Slope Dope). “Snow camping allows us to forget about stress, school and everyday life and enjoy nature at its purest form. Alone in the middle of a snowy nowhere, we reach an understanding of what nature really is — raw and peaceful, with that strange capacity of making you feel very very small.”

Throughout many of Europe’s Alpine countries, it is becoming a real trend for winter resorts and hotels, as well as tour and outdoor adventure companies, to offer authentic snow home experiences for participants of all ages. For example, ProAlps offers packages throughout South Tyrol, the Dolomites and other Italian regions that encourage team building and outdoor adventure—participants are shown how to build their own igloo and then get to sleep inside their creations! You don’t have to worry about it being cold overnight as the interior temperature of an igloo never drops below freezing, no matter how treacherous it is outside.

Another example is Inuit Adventures (based in Vienna) which offers igloo-building seminars led by experienced and trained guides in Upper Austria, as well as in Spitzingsee and Pfronten in Germany. The sites where you construct your winter homes are reached by cable car, followed by a leisurely snowshoe or ski. One authentic part of the experience is using traditional Qulliq (soapstone oil lamps) which will be provided for cooking, light and heat. Specialty Igloo Villages also abound, such as Iglu-Dorf which has locations in Germany, Andorra and multiple in Switzerland; and the Iglu-Village Kuhtai in Austria. These unique winter communities offer already-built igloo accommodations, ranging from dorm-style to romantic and luxurious private rooms. They often have many onsite activities to keep you entertained, such as fondue, drinks or full service meals in the restaurant/bar, igloo-building and dogsled workshops, and outdoor pursuits, from tobogganing and snow-shoeing to paragliding and snow-biking!

Whether you are planning a ski adventure or a gentler walking experience, igloo-building or overnight stays is an intriguing and enjoyable way to complement your winter holiday.