Frozen Experiences of a Lifetime: Build Your Dream (Snow) Home

The ultimate North American winter bucket list

    Photo: terren in Virginia/Flickr

Growing up in Canada, my vision of an ideal snow fortress was formed early, the first time I saw a Quebec-made movie called La Guerre des Tuques, or, in English, The Dog Who Stopped the War. A whole generation of Canadian kids was raised on this flick, in which a small group of misfits builds the world’s most epic snow fort to defend themselves against a bunch of snowball-hurling bullies. Cue the siege and a fight to the bitter, snowy end.

The key to a good snow fort—besides good snow—is planning. Decide on your fort’s footprint, and clear the area, then start building the walls. Solid walls take time, so don’t rush. The simplest way is to roll giant snow balls, the way you would for a snowman, and use them as building blocks for your wall. Pack them tightly together, both side by side and, as you add higher layers, fill any gaps with more snow. There are whole schools of thought about watering your finished walls to strengthen them—a little water can seal the wall up nicely, but too much water can melt the snow, or create an icy fort interior. That’s no good when the time comes to start tossing snow grenades over the walls.

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