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Ice Town 2020
Adam Scott, History Teaching Fellow

On the night of Friday, February 14, 2020 it was cold in the camp
Snowflakes and flurries were lit by headlamp ~

For the third semester in a row, students here at Conserve School built and inhabited Ice Town, a village of Quinzee snow shelters, for one night. (A Quinzee is very similar to an Igloo, but whereas an Igloo is created out of blocks of ice or ice-like snow, a Quinzee is created by compacting a pile of loose powdery snow and then digging out the inside.) For Ice Town CS20, students spent four days after school piling and digging 16 Quinzees. There was enough shelter space for 54 students and three staff members to spend the night sleeping outside with two empty Quinzees leftover. This event was the largest Ice Town yet and broke records for size and participation that will be hard to beat. 

One might wonder, how do students stay warm during an event like this? There are several strategies. First: eat plenty of calories, including snacks like cookies, s’ mores, and hot chocolate. Second: drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, this has a more significant effect than one might think. Hot drinks are more satisfying to drink in the cold. Third: move around a lot to generate body heat. A few laps walking up the sledding hill (and then sliding back down) will do the trick. Fourth: wear plenty of layers to create still air space and insulation between your body and the cold air or snow. Two sleeping bags on top of two camping pads or cardboard is preferred. Fifth: Stay out of the wind! Quinzees help with this a lot. It can be 20 degrees warmer (or more!) inside a Quinzee compared to the outside. 

The sheer enthusiasm Conserve School students have for adventure is truly inspiring, and I look forward to sharing more outdoor experiences with them this semester.

Photos contributed by Kate Houle, Communications Specialist