During a recent skiing trip to Kylmäluoma we made and slept in a quinzhee. A quinzhee or quinzee is a shelter made by hollowing out a pile of settled snow.
To make one, you first make a big pile of snow. This one slept 2 comfortably and was 5m or so in diameter. Don’t worry about compacting the snow as you go, just make a large heap. Compacting the snow would not only takes ages, but it also ruins the insulating properties of the snow. Once you have a large enough dome you can mildly compact the outside with shovels or skis. After this, slide in 30cm sticks, roughly 50cm apart all over the structure. These sticks are not added for structural reasons as you might think but actually act as guides when hollowing out the chamber. Once the sticks are in place leave for around an hour to harden.
Over the past 2 weeks we had our first identification test, learnt all about food hygiene, hosted the yearly IWG meeting, joined an elk hunt, learnt how to sharpen our knives and axes, learnt the basics of snowmobile maintenance, had our night orienteering test and learnt some new knots. OH, and had the first proper snowfall for the year! Ohhhh yeaaah.
On Wednesday we had an identification test on berries, mushrooms, polypore, mosses, lichens and tree species. Before the course started several months ago, other than a few tree species and several mushrooms, my fauna knowledge was patchy to say the least. Over the previous months we’ve gradually learnt a selection of species from discussions with teachers and classmates whilst out mushroom picking or on expeditions. That said, there were around 150 species that we needed to learn for the test, and the previous week was spent revising at every available opportunity to try to remember them.