The dangers of snow structures | VIVA MÉDIA Skip to main content

Building snow structures is an activity of interest for many children. However, it is important to remember that this winter activity is not without risk. In fact, the collapse of a snow structure can be fatal.

According to the Canada Safety Council, on average one child per year dies after being buried in snow. This activity should therefore not be practiced without adequate supervision. It is important to remember some safety tips when building a snow structure.

First of all, it should be noted that the freshly collected snow is at risk of collapsing. It is therefore not recommended to enter the structure before it can harden. To do this, the 24 hour period is recommended. The snow must be very compacted. Note that it is not recommended to use powder type snow since it is difficult to compact.

Take advantage of the time when the snow is very sticky. The walls should be a minimum of 30 centimeters thick. According to the Aventures Nouvelle-France website, most people underestimate the amount of snow needed. So you will need about a foot of ice / hard snow in the area of a backyard.

Also, it is strongly recommended for those who wish to build a snow fort in complete safety never to dig a hole in ungroomed snow and to always dig in such a way as to preserve an arch.


A simplified construction of the traditional snow fort is called the Quinzhee. The process involves piling and packing the snow and digging a shelter from the outside. You just have to start with a small cavity and then gradually widen it as you work your way through the dome. Note that this construction does not have the same structural quality as that used for the construction of a fort made from blocks of ice.

It should be remembered that the Canada Safety Council strongly discourages the construction of tunnels, considering that they represent a risk of collapsing.

Mélanie Calvé


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