Snow Trench

A snow trench is supposed to be an easy construction to do. It requires very little skills and can be attempted by a single person. Snow trenches do not offer the level of comfort an igloo or a snow cave would, however it will keep you warmer than the outside temperature and will keep you out of the wind as well. Your trench should be the approx. 1-2 ft. longer than the tallest person who's going to stay in the snow trench. The above 3d model shows approximately what your trench will look like if you excavate the side as a sleeping platform. You can optionally excavate both sides for a 2 person trench.

 Build Time

 Build Complexity

 Tools Need

Skill Level 

 Comfort Level

 Select a suitable location for your snow trench. It should be a flat area that has sufficient snow cover for you to dig in. A depth of at least 5-6 feet is desireable.  
 If you're on a flat surface, dig yourself a little hole (2x2 ft. by 3 ft. deep) so you have enough room to manouver when cutting the first blocks. Measure the width of the trench and mark it: it should be around 2 feet wide. In this specific case, there was a layer of unconsollidated snow on top of the good snow, so I removed it.  
 Measure the width of your blocks. I've marked my snow blade at the 6", 8" and 12" lengths. In this case, I'll be using blocks that are 6" thick.  
 Use the back of your snow saw to mark your cut lines.  
 In order to speed things up a bit, I usually cut 2-3 blocks everytime I use the saw.  
 Put the blocks on both sides of the trench so they are close by when you start assembling the roof.  
Put the last block you remove from your trench at the end of your trench and then mark cut lines on it. This block will support the first blocks of your roof and close up the triangular area. Before going to assembling the roof, if it's not imperative that you get yourself out of the wind right away, now might be a good time to dig down your trench by a couple of extra feet. If the wind is strong, it's probably a better idea to build the roof and get out of the wind as soon as possible. It will be working in a cramped area and it'll be a bit harder to get the snow out, but at least you'll be out of the wind!  
 Once the triangular block is cut, take a half block and position in so that it sits on the triangular block.  
 Why, do you ask, did we go through all the trouble of cutting blocks and we're discarding half a block? We want each of our blocks to be able to lean against the previously placed block for added strength and ease of assembly.  
 Continue placing block after block so that you cover the entire length of the trench.  
 What it looks like from outside!