|Quinzhee by house|
|Polking air holes|
Next, let the snow pile rest for at least a few hours in order to settle, overnight is even better. Then, polk a couple of dozen holes or so, about 12-16 inches deep, into the snow all around the fort. These holes will serve a couple of purposes. First, they're indicators as to when to stop digging, when sunlight comes them them, which helps avoid making the walls too thin. These holes also help with the fort's air circulation.
|Digging with shovel|
For safety purposes it is best to have at least a couple people involved in the digging process, in the event of a collapse. It is also desirable, when digging from within the quinzhee, to stay on one's knees, and avoid being one's back, should a collapse occur while digging.
It is ideal to leave a 6 inch layer of snow on the ground for insulation. As for the height of the quinzhee, you don't want to make it too tall, e.g. standing room height, in order to keep the warm air closer to the ground. I would recommend at least enough headroom to be able to sit up straight.
In the event of a big snow fall you may want to keep your shovel inside the fort with you, should it be required to dig out in the morning. For sleeping, a tarp should be layed on the ground, then isolated pad and finally a winter sleeping bag. You will discover one of the wonderful aspects of a snow fort is the absolute silence inside, due to the snow's insulation.
Happy winter camping!