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Monday, April 27, 2009

Snow Shelters - How Strong Are They?

How Strong Are They?
Those who are new to snow shelters often stay up the first night they sleep in one staring at the ceiling wondering if it's going to collapse. Remember they only collapse when you're building them and that's only if they are built wrong, if you can get inside a finished shelter it will not collapse. Plus, they harden with time and become rock hard or more like ice hard, but you get the point. Now just so you believe me, here's a photo with 20 students standing on one the next morning. Pretty solid!


Practice, Practice, Practice
There's an old saying, "repetition is the mother of skill". If you want to become good at any skill you must practice. For me personally, I can build any one of these shelters in under an hour and most within 15 to 20 minutes, but that ability has come from much practice.

Now I don't care if you practice in your backyard, drive up in the hills and build one with the kids and then just drive home afterwards and sleep in your own bed, The key here is that you practice. And, might I suggest that at least once you try to stay the night in one. You might actually enjoy it, they beat the heck out of a tent in the winter.

Speaking of tents, tents are colder and they rattle in the wind, where snow shelters are warmer and almost completely sound proof for an incredible nights sleep. Actually most people I know, after they get good at building one, won't sleep in a tent in the winter ever again. For backcountry ski trips they're awesome, you don't have to bother hauling in that extra weight for the tent.

Final Thoughts
A lot of people never practice their emergency skills or use their emergency gear until a true emergency happens. The only problem with that approach is that it's a bad time to find out something doesn't work or you're not sure how to do it. I can't count how many times a student broke one of those wire saws from their survival kits or have one of those 99 cent reflective blankets rip in half in the wind. I've always emphasized that my students use and test their skills and gear to find out what really works, so when the time comes that they truly do need them, they can count on them.

Remember, "repetition is the mother of skill" and after you build a few you'll be an old pro. Now go back and review my posts and try out each method.

See you on the trail,

--Greg

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1 comment:

  1. I am going to be building a pallet shed this spring I am planning on connecting the pallets by staggering them horizontaly and instead of capping the ends and then connecting them I am planning to run either 2×3 or 2×4 within the pallets themselves and then pre drill holes for screws connecting the 2x3s to the runners on the pallets otherwise I’m going to use as much of your plan as possible it seems to work I will repost with a pic when completed Thanks for the great Idea
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