March 30, 2009 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Vancouver - Snowshoeing
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Last night was Earth Hour, and my husband and I and didn't stop at just turning out the lights for an
hour. We turned out the lights, left home and drove to the top of Mt
Seymour near downtown Vancouver, where we built ourselves an igloo to sleep in for the night.
We were with a group of friends and new acquaintances, testing out an overnight tour offered by West Coast Adventures
It was a worthy endeavour to have along the experts, because without
some guidance building an igloo could be quite tricky. They also
brought along yummy snacks. And dinner. And breakfast. And a few other
things that made the whole night quite comfortable.
all that, we started out with an igloo-building lesson. Our guides demonstrated how to make an igloo block, by cutting it out with a saw and shovel. By cutting out the blocks out from what will become the floor of the igloo, and then building the blocks around the circular edge of the floor, the igloo takes shape.
turns out I'm quite a whiz at cutting snow blocks. My husband, on the
other hand, excelled at placing the blocks and sealing them in, which
is not super easy: the walls go up on a significant angle, and need to
be gently yet strongly secured into place with the blocks tightly
wedged together. Three hours later, 12 of us had build four igloos, plus a cosy outdoor 'living room' for meals and socializing.
day had started as snowy and foggy, and we couldn't see much further
than a nearby band of trees. But as the light began to fade, the clouds
opened up and we could see the city spread out below us. It was a
remarkable feeling - at first as if we were on a remote mountain alone
in the world - and the next minute, on top of the world yet close
enough to see the roof lines of houses below. Welcome to a new sport:
urban iglooing. "Where else in the world," pointed out the visiting
Brit in the group, "Can you do something like this?"
As the evening wore on, the wine and food flowed and the campfire was lit, and soon we were ready for bed. We retreated back to our igloos, now cosy with candlelight, sheepskin rugs and warm sleeping bags.
The next morning, the sun was out and the view from our igloo-village was beautiful. After
breakfast and packing up, the last thing to do before leaving was to
tear down the igloos, making sure no-one would stumble on them and fall
in. However, it turned out we did a fairly good job of building
super-strong structures: we were able to walk over the tops of all four of the igloos, and then we put in some considerable effort to bring them down (seriously, these things are strong!)
ten minute walk later, and we were back at our cars and civilization -
add another fifteen minute drive, and we had emerged from winter into
spring. Roughing it doesn't get much easier than that.