A Good Nights Sleep In an Igloo.

By Timo Rautava at Pyhätunturi

Sleep In An Igloo

It is as if Tinkerbell has waved her magic wand over Pyhätunturi to have a nights sleep in an igloo. There are ice-crystals hanging in the air, catching the light of the sun and glistening and sparkling like the illustrations of a wintry fairy-tale.

The unworldly setting accompanies the expedition heading off, pulling sleds behind them, towards the 540-metre fell known as Noitatunturi. “We’ll take a brief warming-up break here”, says the party’s leader Martti Verkasalo as they come to the Park and Forest Service fell-hut at Karhunjuomalampi (the direct translation is “Bear Drink Tarn”). This is the last fortress of so-called civilization before the group head into the wild white yonder.

What Is Sleeping In An Like

One observer comments that that’s how it looks when the real hardmen head off to Halti (Finland’s highest fell at 1328m) in January for a spot of ice fishing and to sleep out in caves they have dug in the snow. The image is pretty close to the truth. In this case, however, there are three “hardwomen” in the group, and they are not after fishing through a hole in the ice, for the trekking is to be accompanied by some off-off-piste snowboarding.

Saara Kurttila also reveals to one of the inquisitive passers-by that the aim is to build an igloo and spend five nights in at as a base-camp. “Then we are going to climb the fell in our snowshoes and come down on the boards. We’ll see how well we get on.” Noitatunturi is one of the gems of the Pyhätunturi National Park, a former place of worship for the S‡mi (the name in English is Witch Fell), and a popular challenge for hikers. However, most hikers choose to make the trip under the Midnight Sun and spend the night at a wilderness hut further west at Huttujärvi.

Winter Camping Trip

This trip is an altogether different cup of tea. Matti Verkasalo calls the trek “cross-country snowboarding”. This is not a macho extreme sport, however, he emphasizes. The expedition is rather more one of humbly treading in the footsteps of the fell-wolves, trying to learn some wilderness survival skills, and living in harmony with the natural surroundings. And did we say we love to sleep in an igloo?

The sleds jerk forwards. After a hike of around four hours, the group selects a spot for a base-camp on the slopes of Noitatunturi. An area of flatter ground at around the tree-line provides a fabulous view down to a broad valley, on the other side of which rises the outline of Luostotunturi (514m), some twenty kilometres to the north.

The building of an igloo begins immediately after a break for refreshments. In truth, at this early stage there are plenty of one-liners going around about the possibility of high-tailing it back to the hut at Karhujuomalampi or calling in a chopper to get them the hell out of here. But that’s all they are – jokes. Pretty soon, a good rhythm develops to the construction work. The igloo is being erected using the American method. The snow is packed into a mould, where it forms into a solid block, and thus the work progresses one brick at a time.

Satu Kinnunen, a nursing student from Mikkeli, whacks at the snow with a shovel, and the others tread it down into fine granules. Saara Kurttila stirs up the snow and lifts it into the mould. The snow should apparently first be “warmed” so that it can set properly in blocks. Youth worker Pauliina Viljakainen, the third woman in the party, takes a turn with the show-shovel. Henri Vuollekoski, a physics undergraduate from Helsinki, has dug out a path to the latrines. The party has taken a chemical portaloo along with them.

The sun has traversed around to the West, the work has progressed, and the igloo has taken on its familiar shape. Pauliina, the group’s most talented snowboarder, gets a chance to try out her board. Although she is leading the Finnish Cup standings in the snowboarding slalom category, Pauliina is definitely not averse to a bit of free-riding down uncorked powder snow. “When you combine trekking with snowboarding, it takes on a completely new dimension. The snow here is different, it is finer than the stuff you get on groomed slopes. There’s a sense of freedom to be had coming down through this.” Saara admires the view. It is hard to imagine getting much closer to nature than this.

The trip also arouses some rather conflicting emotions in her. Saara is doing research into Third World Studies at the University of Helsinki, and she has familiarized herself with life in Afghanistan and on the streets of Calcutta. “We are in such a privileged position here. We can be up here, can gaze at this landscape from the warmth and comfort of our Gore-Tex outfits.”

Henri is given the task of making the door opening to the igloo. It looks just like those Eskimo igloos that are familiar from comic strips with a narrow tunnel at ground level or below, so that the warm air does not escape outside. The sun sets just after six and draws a red neon gash across the western horizon. We wish the snowboarders a pleasant night in their new home. They turn in and sleep in an igloo for the night and wish us a safe journey back to Pyhätunturi. As the evening draws into night, a carpet of Aurora Borealis is spread out in the eastern sky. The tree-branches creak and crack as the night-frost tightens its grip.

Next morning, we hear that the temperature at the lower station of the Pyhätunturi ski-resort went down to -38°C overnight. Higher up on the fells it is likely that the temperature would not have fallen much below -20°C at its coldest. But it was warm in the igloo. When we return at around ten in the morning to the cross-country snowboarders’ base-camp, they are only just waking up. “We slept really well”, says Henri, as he clambers out through the doorway tunnel.

Nobody has complained about the cold. Far from it. The sun is up and gaining strength, and the thermometer that has been hung on a pine tree nearby reads about -10°C in semi-shade. After a bowl of porridge, the team heads up the side of Noitatunturi, snowshoes on their feet and boards strapped to their backs. A f ew minutes later the boarders come blasting past us, carving patterns in the powder, and then they disappear into the snowy woods below.

Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 21.3.2005


American Plastic Igloo Making Form Performed Well in Himos Forest

“Last fall Verkasalo came across an interesting gadget in the Internet: the Americans had began to make a slip form for igloo building. One should be able to build an igloo of any kind of snow in temperatures ranging from +3 to at least -18 Centigrade. (0 is the freezing point.) This is a thing that must be tested.”

Translation from Helsingin Sanomat (Helsinki News – Health and Motion)
by Heidi Korva, Helsinki News

Men toiled to build an overnight shelter of snow…………it did take a few hours

Three men come together at Himos skiing resort, Jämsa, throw their backpacks by the first trees of the forest, and start shoveling snow. Last night it snowed an inch or two. Perfect conditions for building an igloo. Men are shoveling, because one of them has an obsession. Matti Verkasalo, a paediatrician from Helsinki tried backcountry snowboarding last winter, slept overnight in a quinzhee, and got a bad backcountry bug bite.

Last fall Verkasalo came across an interesting gadget in the Internet: the Americans had began to make a slip form for igloo building. One should be able to build an igloo of any kind of snow in temperatures ranging from +3 to at least -18 Centigrade. (0 is the freezing point.) This is a thing that must be tested.

Verkasalo palced an order in, and claimed from the customs five plastic parts and three aluminium tubes. The first igloo was built on football field with only five inches of snow on the ground Now he is building his fifth igloo near teh ski slopes of Himos. The two other builders are also from Helsinki; Mika Kalakoski and Ukko Liikkanen. Kalakoski is an expert on snow shelter building, who has done research and tested different snow shelters, and even written a small book on the subject. “The American constructor of the slip form claims that experienced builders can build an igloo in an hour and a half, and since the form weighs only 1.3 Kg, I just had to see and try it, reasons Kalakoski. Ukko Liikkanen again wants to see if building an igloo would be a feasible option for lodging on his yearly off-piste skiing trip to Norway. Suomen Latu also got excited of the invention, and ordered a form to be rented out.

The temperature is a couple of degrees below freezing. Big wet snow-flakes fall fron the sky. Men shovel snow at an easy pace, and halfway of the job they take a good break for lunch. The higher the igloo wall rises, the stranger it seems as the snow blocks just stay up even though the wall slants inward a lot. “This will be hard as ice, even though the snow is now like running sugar” says Liikkanen, tapping on the wall. Finally all the 70ish snow blocks arebuilt on place, and the igloo is ready about 5 hours after the job was begun. “It took much less effort to build than e.g. a quinzhee” compares Kalakoski. “And here you donÕt get so wet, as you need not shovel so much of the snow, and you are not inside the hole digging the roof” says Verkasalo. The men estimate that it would take about two hours of an cxperienced team. Then they start the second part of the test: sleeping bags and camping mattresses are taken into the igloo, and off to sleep. Kalakoski has spent long times in snow shelters, but Liikkanen and Verkasalo feel it important also to test the quality of sleep in the igloo, in sub-freezing temperatures. And the sleep was good, wittness all three of them in the morning, drinking hot chokolate and roasting marshmallows by cooker flame. Not a bad trip at all! Outside temperatures have sunk to -12 Centigrade, but inside the igloo it is a few degrees above freezing because of the gas burner. The walls protest by a few drops of water down my neck.

All three of them agree that they could enjoy several nights in an igloo. In the middle of nowhere, as a base camp for backcountry skiing, or as a reserve lodging if the huts are too crowded, igloo is great. But if you want to ski fast from one place to another and stop for the night, making an igloo for the night is not a good idea. It just does take its time. “You can erect a tent in fifteen minutes – on the other hand snow shelters are so much more comfortable than tents”, compares Kalakoski. Liikkanen and Verkasalo had two camping mattresses under the sleeping-bag, which was barely enough. “Sleeping on your side and turning around prevented the cold from getting too near” says Liikkanen. This scant 24-hour trial was, however, an all-round success. During the night the 20 cm thick walls dampened the sounds and isolated the sleepers perfectly from the outside world.

The separate insert articles tell about different types of snow shelters, and describe a tiny booklet, mainly just for a souvenir, describing snow shelter, igloo and snow castle building. The third insert is about ICEBOX®.The igloo slip form works by building an igloo of eight rounds of snow cubes, alltogether about 80 blocks. The doorway is made below the floor level, and closed for the night. An air vent is made in the igloo roof.

The center end of the igloo form shaft is placed solid in the middle of the igloo site. The shaft has markings for right shaft lengths for each round. The shaft is lengthened as the wall height increases. The snow is shoveled into the form and pressed gently into the form. Too heavy pressing and patting breaks the bonding between snow crystals and the block will not last. The snow used must not have chunks. Newly fallen snow works best.

Inside the igloo one may burn a candle. It will help circulating the air, and will indicate if oxygen is getting low.
The igloo form used at Himos had been purchased via internet from the address http:www.grandshelters.com.

Snow Dome Home

Brrrrr. Baby, it’s cold outside. And when winter campers bed down after an exhilarating day in the elements, “outside” is exactly where they want the frosty air to stay.

Enter the ICEBOX®. Developed by mountaineers Ed Huesers and Guy Menge, ICEBOX® is a swivelling three-panelled box on a pole that helps campers build a stable, eight-layered igloo in just a couple of hours.
Campers stake the aluminum pole securely to a centre point of the igloo’s floor, fill and pack the box with snow, unclamp and remove the completed block then slide the form to the next position and start again. The ICEBOX®’s ingenious pivoting design allows you to establish the angle and height of the structure’s walls with ease.

Are you still with me? To build the second tier, you just reset the pre-notched pole to the desired height, complete a row of snow blocks, then repeat the process until you’ve created eight breathtaking tiers that boast an airhole and the igloo’s all-important “catenary curve.” A miracle of structural engineering, the catenary curve, which gives the igloo its pleasing arch, ensures that the lateral pressure of the blocks is equal to the downward pressure. The upshot: your new home will be standing for weeks, even months to come.

Strapped to your back, the ICEBOX® weighs about two kilograms – lighter than a four-season tent. Once built, ye olde igloo offers a quiet and spacious home that is protected from the howling wind and vicissitudes of winter weather. Inside temperatures are at least 8 Celsius degrees warmer than those outside. (Snow’s natural insulating properties ensure that additional bodies will make it all the cozier.)

The ICEBOX® is sold in three sizes and comes with a manual that guides builders through the process step by step. See it online at www.grandshelters.com Price $215 to $240 Canadian
Written by Tracy Read

Igloo helps take bite out of cold nights

Ed Huesers Applies some final touches to the igloo we built with his ICEBOX® igloo tool in Rocky Mtn Nat’l Park

Photos and text by Ted Alan Stedman, Special to the News Ted Alan Steadman © News Photo

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK — It’s mid-winter. We’re at 11,000 feet, and Arctic-like winds that sound like a squadron of F-14s are roaring off the Continental Divide. In a few hours, the feeble rays of the sun will disappear behind the crags of Hallet Peak, and the stingingly cold air will slap us with a frigid below-zero wallop. We’ve snow-shoed into the backcountry with 50-pound packs crammed with winter survival gear. Except for tents. And since the two of us are getting ready to spend the night clinging to the side of a mountain surrounded by nothing but rock, ice and snow, I figure that makes us the coldest fools in Colorado. This assertion is being put to the test. In spite of what would seem to be a dire predicament, my partner, Ed Huesers, assures me that we will survive our winter camping ordeal. Better yet, he says, we’ll do it in style, staying warm and dry no matter what Old Man Winter throws at us.

Our salvation is Huesers’ own creation, called the Ice Box snow shelter tool, a pack-able igloo-making device. If all goes according to plans and promises, in several hours we will be comfortably hunkered down in an igloo, protected from the elements by a spiraling stack of rectangular 8-inch-thick snow blocks we’ll make with the Ice Box tool.

“Igloos are warm and quiet,” he says, unpacking the meager-looking 4.5 pound contraption that looks like a plastic three-ring binder with an attachable telescopic aluminum pole. “You can stay dry inside an igloo because the air is warmer than freezing, usually about 34 to 40 degrees, depending on the number of people inside and whether they’re using stoves and lanterns.” This is news to me. Like most winter campers, I’ve always relied on a sturdy four-season tent. Set it up, crawl in, and hope that your sleeping bag’s below-zero rating is up to snuff.

Huesers, a mold maker and owner of his own company, Inventors Aid Service in Longmont, reminds me of the pitfalls of tents and winter camping. “Tents can shred during big windstorms. And they usually don’t get much warmer than about 10 degrees above the ambient temperature,” he says. Until I met Huesers, the idea of building an igloo in Colorado seemed as remote as the North American tribes who built the ice shelters on pack ice above the Arctic Circle, as I learned during my igloo research. “Igloos are temporary structures that were made by a number of tribes living in the Arctic fringes of North America,” says Joyce Herold, an anthropologist at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Two groups are generally associated with igloos: the Inupiat of Alaska and the Inuit of northern Canada, she says. But instead of forming blocks as we were about to, the native groups used whale-bone saws and knives to excavate blocks from existing snow pack. With these tidbits of knowledge tucked away in my skeptical brain, we start our own igloo project.

Right away, I see that only a fanatical winter lover could possibly conceive such a gadget as the Ice Box. And Ed Huesers, a sturdy man with a flowing beard who in 10 years might bear a striking resemblance to Old Saint Nick, fits the bill. Now 52, Huesers grew up in North Dakota and began his love affair with winter by building snow caves as a kid. “We made quinzhees, a mound of snow you tunnel into,” he recounts. “But they could collapse and were dangerous unless you built them just right, so I began thinking about other snow shelters.”

After moving to Lyons in 1975, Huesers started tinkering with different snow shelters. He began studying the dynamics of the physics of snow, and experimented with packing snow to form structures. After a few experimental shelter designs, he came up with an idea for an igloo building tool. Because he already operated his mold making company, he could design and manufacture the tool himself. “The igloo’s self-supporting architecture is based on a catenary curve, similar to a parabolic curve,” he says. To get the right dimension for his Ice Box tool, Huesers hung a chain to determine the correct curve, then inverted the curve to establish how the igloos would be shaped. “Roman aqueducts and medieval flying buttresses use the same design,” he says. “The pressure pushing in is equalized by the pressure pushing down, so it doesn’t collapse.”

Huesers officially took his concept to the market three years ago, and sells the Ice Box igloo tool through a separate company, Grand Shelters Inc. of Longmont. He teamed with longtime winter camping friend Guy Menge, a mechanical engineer who also owns his own company, SolidTek, that designs molds using computers. Together they’ve built at least 50 igloos with the Ice Box, and have sold about 1,000 of the tools so far. Although Huesers sees mountaineers and winter campers and as the ideal buyers of his product, he’s finding that the tool has some unconventional proponents. “At a trade show in Minneapolis, we sold a unit to an elderly couple running a homeless shelter,” he says. “They said their shelter was full and the homeless were getting injured because they built plywood shacks that would burn down when they cooked in them. As long as it’s cold and they’re in the shade most of the time, these igloos will stay intact all winter.” Grandparents have bought his Ice Box kit to entertain their grandkids. Marines have bought the kit to practice emergency shelter building. Backcountry skiers have been using the tool to build igloos on ridges and using them as warming huts to eat and change clothes before skiing back to trailheads. “So far, the biggest market has been the Boy Scouts,” he says. “They’re even issuing Merit Badges for building igloos with the kit.”

Back in Rocky Mountain National Park, as we survey our building site, we find that there’s plenty of material for our igloo. The structures usually take two people about three hours to complete. But in this corner of Rocky Mountain National Park, the sugar snow is absolutely dry and stubbornly refuses to clump together. With such weak material, I’m worried that our igloo might turn out to be a flimsy house of cards. But these are minor details to Huesers, who says that the Ice Box will work with any kind of snow, and that we’ll just have to devote a little more elbow grease to get the job done.

We start by leveling and stomping down a platform for our 8-foot diameter igloo. After getting a solid foundation, the Ice Box is put into service. The unit has an adjustable aluminum pole with a center spike that’s driven into the base. This fixture point guides the block building as the tool pivots around, laying course upon course like a bricklayer. As the walls grow and curve inward and upward toward the ceiling, the pole adjusts shorter and serves as a stand to build and set the final blocks. Huesers stands outside the perimeter, harvesting the choicest snow (“not to chunky”) with a shovel, then carefully tossing the load into the slightly curved form. It’s my job to gently pack down the snow. When I’m too vigorous, Huesers gets wide-eyed and gives me his mantra about technique. “If you pack it too hard, you’ll fracture the block,” he says.

After a while, I’m getting the hang of it. Shovel, pack, shovel and pack again, gently remove the tool and begin the adjoining block. We repeat the procedure roughly 65 times — the number of blocks it takes to cap-off our wintry domicile. By now it’s dark, and thanks to the sugar snow, the effort has taken roughly twice as long as normal. But I’m amazed at how snow that refuses to be clumped into a snowball has somehow miraculously stayed put and turned rock hard. To prove the point, Huesers gives a few rough kicks to the igloo. Not a dent. “I don’t advise it, but these igloos get so strong that two big guys can stand on top of them,” he says.

Our work is still not done, since no igloo is home until it has a door and sleeping platforms. With the temperatures dipping below zero, Huesers goes into overdrive, shoveling madly but precisely to create an entrance below the igloo’s floor. From there, he tunnels upward, and like a sculptor, carves a walkway and two sleeping platforms before the final touch of poking an air vent in the dome’s apex. We settle in, and with the glow of two clean burning iso-butane stoves and lanterns, the interior is bathed in a golden light. After an hour, the temperature is about 40 degrees warmer than the outside — toasty enough that we shed our parkas, sit atop our sleeping pads and cook up our meals.

I’m not convinced that igloos are the answer to every winter camper’s dream of a secure shelter. I still like my tents. Yet I’m impressed at how comfortable, sturdy and livable our igloo is. Huesers, on the other hand, is obviously in his element and plans to take his igloo tool to the ultimate testing grounds. In two years, he hopes to team with accomplished climber Gary Neptune of Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder, and try to climb Mount McKinley (Denali) in Alaska using igloos as their sole means of shelter.

“Igloos have a lot of mystique. They really bring out the kid in an adult,” Huesers says. “I think every family with kids who like the outdoors should stay in an igloo at least once.”

Pair hopes cool invention is next hot thing!

Longmont, Colorado 6/14/98

LYONS -Just when everyone is planning summer camping and hiking trips, cookouts and pool parties, Ed Huesers is trying to keep his cool building an igloo.
Huesers is hoping to market the ICEBOX® – his newly designed igloo making kit – by October in time for the winter camping season.

Huesers and his Longmont partner, Guy Menge, are avid winter hikers and snow campers: They have hiked into remote areas carrying seven-pound tents and thought it might be easier to build a snow cave rather than bringing in a heavy tent.
“We have been building snow caves since 1981,” said Huesers. “Even as a little kid in North Dakota, I would take all the snow in the yard and pile it up in a big mound and carve out a hole that l could crawl into.”

But building snow shelters can be time consuming and exhausting. “It was a lot of work and we got pretty tired,” Menge said. “We started looking for overhangs and then we began using our sleeping pads as a form to build walls up to the overhang. It took less snow and less time than a snow cave.” But the walls were unstable and you had to find an overhang. Menge and Huesers began talking about building an igloo and they designed the first prototype.

Menge and Huesers were naturals for the job. Menge is a mechanical engineer and owns his own company, SolidTek, that designs molds using a computer. Huesers is a mold maker and owns his own company, Inventors Aid Service in Longmont. The two friends have been designing and making molds for plastic injection molders since the 1970s, when they started working together in North Dakota.

The two say the secret to the success of the snow dome is the pole, which extends out from the side of the plastic form to the center of the igloo. A spike secures it to the center of the floor, where it swivels around with each layer of snow.

The pole has eight notches and it is shortened by one notch for each layer of snow, pulling the walls in slightly and creating a parabolic curve up to the top where the form is used to fill in the hole at the top of the dome. The form won’t work without the pole.
Now the two entrepreneurs plan to start their own company, Grand Shelters. They have a web page on the Internet, where they will sell the ICEBOX® for about $140. The inventors hope to have the ICEBOX® in hiking and mountaineering shops in October.

They are already designing windows and doors for the igloo, which will be sold as accessories.

The ICEBOX® weighs 4-1/2 pounds and snaps together in a 2-inch-thick package for backpacking.A 9-foot or ll-foot igloo can be created with the same kit. A 9-foot igloo will sleep about four people tightly and the ll-foot sleeps about six people.

“We have been working on this project for about four or five years,” said Huesers. “We’re doing a patent search, so our patent is pending and we will have it in about a year.”
The igloo will last about two months, Menge said, making it usable a number of times. It will heat up to about 40 degrees with people inside. The inner layer will melt a little and the water runs down the sides in little capillaries. Air must circulate through a vent in the door and roof to prevent a lack of oxygen.
Igloo kit available in stores for the winter season.

Igloos Made Easy from the Boulder Daily Camera

Boulder, Colorado May 27th 1998

Cool Gear

Using a black plastic box attached to an aluminum rod, Ed Huesers and a few friends put up the spacious dome (9 feet in diameter and 72 inches tall) in 2 1/2 hours flat, as a crowd of intrigued
passersby looked on.

It was all in the name of business. In August, Huesers hopes to begin mass producing his Grand Shelters igloo slip forms, designed for winter campers tired of getting soaking wet and exhausted shoveling out a snow cave. His invention, he said, produces a perfectly shaped igloo every time, and allows campers to stay dry and conserve their energy.

“It takes three to four hours to dig a snow cave and you are completely shot when you are done,” said Huesers, 49, an avid winter camper who makes injected plastic molds for a living. With this thing you can still have an evening after the shelter is done. You’re not so tired.”After years of fiddling with prototypes in his garage, Huesers and his longtime camping buddy, Guy Menge, came up with a winner last spring.

The compact 4.5 pound kit consists of: Three black plastic sides that snap together in the shape of a giant three ring binder; a fourth piece which slides into the ‘binder,” allowing the builder to cinch up and loosen the sides; and a collapsible aluminum rod. When put together, the “binder” resembles a rectangular black box with no top or bottom.

As one person shovels snow into the box, the other cranks the sides together and packs down the top, then loosens up the sides and moves on to the next spot, leaving the molded snow square behind. An attached aluminum pole, staked to the ground at what will be the center of the igloo, guides the igloo makers on their circular course. Once they reach the first block again, they begin to spiral up, building layer upon layer.

Numbered holes on the pole correspond with each layer, guiding the igloo makers to ensure that each layer is precisely the right distance from the center.

While one person stays inside the igloo, packing the snow, the shoveler stays outside.”People can’t get it wrong,” said Huesers. “It’s a perfect igloo every time.”

Longtime mountaineer Gary Neptune, owner of Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder, wholeheartedly endorsed the product after watching Huesers in action last winter, and plans to carry the slip form in his shop next fall.
“In a normal igloo, you saw the blocks out like bricks so you have to have really good, hard-packed snow,” said Neptune. “The way he has this rigged, you can use loose snow. And the shape comes out really good, as opposed to a handmade one, where you can come up with a really unstable creation. It’s really cool.”

– Lisa Marshall

Building Snow Forts & Igloos

Building Snow Forts and Igloos

Do your kids love to have fun in the snow? Maybe you can wear them out by building snow forts using our tool. While the tool is easy and simple to use, they still have to shovel snow into the slip form tool and pack it in. Parents far and wide have found this winter activity very rewarding for their children and themselves. Building snow forts is a great way to teach your kids about how Inuit people used igloos as their homes. While many may see an igloo as a snow fort or as a snow camping habitat, Inuit people needed them for survival.

Who were the Inuit People and Why Igloos

The Inuit people are a group of similar indigenous people inhabiting Greenland, Canada and Alaska. Inuit language is part of the Eskimo family, but much of their sign language is lost to history.

The igloo (or iglu) is a traditional Inuit shelter for living in the far northern regions. Blocks of snow are crafted and stacked They are built with blocks of snow stacked in a circle. The walls curve inward toward the top, which forms a snow dome in which the arched ceiling is self-supporting. Igloos are extraordinary example how humans have adapted to the environment. Igloos retain heat, protect against wind and will last a long time in very cold climates. The typical igloo design has a tunnel entrance. The tunnel preserves heat inside making arctic environments and temperatures tolerable by humans. Sleep areas are also used for sitting and are raised above the floor. Because of this design feature, the sleep and sitting areas of an igloo maintain higher temperatures. A small hole near the top of the igloo provides ventilation for a stove or candle.