This is not your ordinary igloo or hole in a snowbank. Phase I:

I hate shoveling off my deck, so last year as I was cursing another wet, heavy snowstorm, I thought, I’ll just pile it up in the corner for the kids! It’s not lazy, it’s... for the kids! I then had the innovative idea to use corrugated metal roofing instead of carving out all the inside volume the Old Fashioned Way, which is also prone to collapse. Phase I used an 8' long section of roofing.

The kids like to climb on top (obviously) and it’s big enough to even go sledding from the top (when you’re under 6 years old, anyway):

My technique: pile up the snow in a giant kind of rectangle and let it sinter (settle, harden) overnight. Once it’s firm enough to cut vertical walls into it, I shovel out the middle about 30-34" wide - our roofing is 38" wide. I put 2x4's across the opening, then the roofing, then pile snow on top of that so it doesn’t go anywhere. This is the same basic system I used last year, but with a number of improvements. For one, I started supporting those roof joists, if you want to call them that, from underneath. So now I have very little concern for kids, dogs, and additional snow weight on top of the existing space. Last year every time we had a warm couple of days, I’d lose enough structure that I’d have to take the metal roofing off and store it until the next snowstorm so we could rebuild.

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While we do want snow on top, I also won’t allow it to get too deep; 6-12" is ideal. The roof sections are pitched so that when it rains or melts, the water filters down and drains off the end - which it did last week quite successfully. This helps keep down the weight also. Another improvement from last year is making the walls MUCH thicker, like a minimum 18" and up to 36" in places so there’s less chance of a wall collapse in a thaw (or a foot going through while climbing).

We’ve gotten more snow since Phase I , so here’s Phase II - I added an “L” with another 12' long section of roofing.

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Doggo at the entrance:

And finally, INTERIOR PICS (sorry for the quality, it’s a tough thing to capture):

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Above left is Phase I, about 8' long and to the right is Phase II about 10' after allowing the 12' long roof a good bit of support on each end. Below you can see the entrance tunnel from the inside. That particular section was made from especially wet snow and is VERY solid.

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The boy:

With more snow in the forecast, Phase III will see expansion outward to make the space in Phase II wider. I want to be able to get the whole family in there comfortably, and not just lined up in the narrow hallway we currently have.

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Even though this is a ton of work, it’s so much fun, and is yet another reason why I love winter. Stay tuned for Phase III.