Greetings from Ice Town!
George Rue, Outdoor Skills Teaching Fellow
Students with shovels in the snow

All the snow we have on campus this time of year creates exciting possibilities. We get to ski, ride inflatable tubes down the sledding hill, and make snow angels. But Adam (History Teaching Fellow and skilled outdoorsman) and I, along with our enthusiastic students, thought we’d get more ambitious this past week. So, we founded a village out in the field next to Mandel House on Conserve School’s campus – Ice Town!

For this Outdoor Skills “Skills Workshop”, 25 students worked together to build six “Quinzees” – snow shelters you can sleep inside. It took us, and some hardy students an afternoon to build huge piles of snow, and two more days to excavate the Quinzees for sleeping. By the time Friday night arrived, Ice Town was open for habitation – complete with two fire pits in our “Town Square”, adorned with an American flag flying overhead. 

Students shoveling snow to build quinzees

The campout that night was a huge success! The students enjoyed hot cocoa and s’mores to celebrate their hard work. After a late night of chatting around the campfires, the students set up their sleeping pads and bags inside the Quinzees. Snow is a good insulator, and the next morning everyone remarked on how warm and cozy it was inside.

While digging out the Quinzees took a lot more effort than just pitching tents out in the field, the students really enjoyed the process of collaboration and teamwork as well as learning a new skill. After all, not many high-schoolers can say they’ve helped create their own snow village!

Quinzee building

Photos contributed by George Rue, Outdoor Skills Teaching Fellow and Adam Scott, History Teaching Fellow