Make Like an Eskimo


The Inuit of northern Canada were onto something when they invented the igloo. Sturdy and windproof, the snow-packed walls trap air and provide insulation, which makes igloos a toasty winter camping option. Body heat alone can warm one to T-shirt temps, and, from the inside, even a raging blizzard isn’t a threat.
Not excited about the chilly legwork required to build an igloo of your own? Josh Butson, owner of Telluride Alpinism, can help. Butson has been fashioning igloos above Telluride, Colorado, for six years. After a day of backcountry skiing or snowshoeing in the San Juan Mountains, you can cozy up in one of his comfy circular abodes as part of his company’s High Mountain Luxury Adventure. Butson and his crew cut hard-packed blocks from high-mountain snow and lever them into a spiral that narrows to a domed ceiling. Each igloo, with three-foot-thick walls and diameters ranging from 7–15 feet, takes up to a week to build.

In Butson’s igloos, beds are a tower of foam pads topped with inflatable mattresses that make for a cushy night’s sleep—and prevent body heat from melting the snow. Prices start at $300 per person (for groups of three or more) and include a guide, snowshoes or skis, gear transport, sleeping gear, three gourmet meals per day, and the igloo.

—Jayme Otto

Last modified: June 25, 2013

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