How to Build a Snow Cave - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

How to Build a Snow Cave

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

Scott Sery met up with KULR-8 right outside of the station to teach people how to build a snow cave Friday afternoon. Sery and some friends were taught how to build a snow cave when they were in high school. He said there are a few kind of caves you can build, "There's a snow cave and this one is called a quinzee, this is where you pile the snow up until you think it's big enough that you can hollow out the inside. A snow cave is built into a naturally occurring snow drift. As long as it's just one person, you really only need three feet of head room and just enough to crawl in and get out of the elements."

To begin the building of a snow cave, the builder must first pack the snow on top. "The snow on the ground is light and fluffy and you're not going to be able to carve into it. But, once that snow has been moved, anytime you shovel your driveway and you notice it gets really hard on the side, it's not because it frozen, it's because the snow settles down. You want that settled snow so it's nice and packed, you can carve it. It keeps it's shape as you carve it." Once the snow is solid, test it with a shovel and then start carving. "Carve a little entrance just big enough to crawl through, go in a couple feet, then carve a dome shaped room that's big enough to sleep in." Another tip from Sery is to keep the entrance to the cave lower than the sleeping area. Sery explained, "Otherwise the cold air will flow back into it. And then, if it's a big enough room that you're worried about carbon dioxide build up, you poke a little hole in the side so some air comes in right by your head while you're sleeping."

The big question many people may have is how warm will the cave really be for a person. Sery said, "If you build it right, it will stay around 30-32 degrees. Doesn't matter how cold it gets outside, the inside of the cave will stay about the same temperature, right above freezing."

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