How to Build a Snow Fort

Whether you want to build a fortress for an epic snowball fight, or need shelter from the elements, here's your step-by-step guide for how to build both a snow fort for fun and a snow shelter for protection.

How to Build a Snow Fort - the Fun One

To stave off an onslaught of snowballs, build a pro snow fortress. Here's how:

What you'll need:

  • A pair of good gloves that will keep your hands warm and dry
  • A shovel for moving snow around
  • An army foxhole shovel (available at military surplus stores)
  • A gardening trowel
  • A toboggan-type sled for transporting large amounts of snow

More: Your Guide to Winter Camping Gear

How to build your fort:

1) Find an area with snow that's neither too wet nor too dry, the kind perfect for a snowball.

2) Determine how large you'd like your fort to be, then roll several large snowballs across the snow to form boulders 18 inches to 24 inches in diameter. Push the snow together as you roll to form tightly packed boulders—the key to building a strong snow fort wall.

3) Place the first group of boulders next to each other so they firmly touch as much as possible.

4) With the first row finished, make another batch of boulders to stack on top. Since you'll have to lift the second group of boulders to place them on top of the first row remember to make them a little smaller.

5) Place each of the smaller boulders into the dips where the larger boulders in the first row meet.

You can make the snow fort as tall as you want, and it can have sidewalls if you wish. Just make the boulders in each new layer slightly smaller than those in the layer beneath it so that the wall tapers in from front and back as you build.

6) Once the wall is assembled, pack loose snow into any gaps between the boulders to make it stronger.

7) Now customize your fortress by building a snow bench inside on which to stack your ammunition, in the event of a snowball fight. You can also carefully cut small windows in the finished wall so you can spot your attackers when they try to sneak up. The perfect finishing touch is to stick a few flags on slender rods in the top of your fort wall.

More: Top 10 Winter Activities for Your Family

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