Ein hell erleuchtetes Iglu in der Nacht, davor stehen zwei Personen

Winter sports

Overnight in an igloo: essential tips

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Spending the night in the snow in deep winter is a very special experience. Myriam and René slept overnight in an igloo and show you how to stay warm and snug despite the cold temperatures.

It’s freezing cold outside. René and Myriam are sitting with hot coffees in front of their self-made igloo above Tannalp, Melchsee Frutt. The snow fell a few days ago, covering the hills like a fine powder. The place is quiet and peaceful, with not a soul in sight. No igloo village, no igloo hotel – just René, Myriam and the natural surroundings. The occasional animal tracks reveal that they’re actually not entirely alone. The bright snow contrasts the dark sky, and the light from their headlamps is almost slightly distracting. They’ve picked a sheltered spot and built their own igloo. Dusk descends slowly and bathes the snow dunes in a pale grey light; the temperature is dropping. René and Myriam brace themselves for a cold night. The idyllic glow is deceptive – the thermometer will drop below zero degrees Celsius during the night, becoming bitterly cold. Good preparation is essential to avoid getting hypothermia during the night.

Perfect spot for sleeping

Snow lets a small degree of air through, so you should choose a sheltered overnight location for your camp that offers the igloo protection from icy winds. The sleeping area should also be flat. This will prevent you from slipping onto the snow while you sleep. A warming camping mat is is essential to minimise heat loss from your body. Temperatures in an igloo range between -2 and +2 degrees.

Using your sleeping bag correctly

For overnighting in an igloo, you need a sleeping bag that is well insulated and suited to cold temperatures. Don’t worry, you don’t need a polar sleeping bag – we’re in Switzerland. If your clothes are damp, be sure to change them before you get into your sleeping bag. This helps you to avoid hypothermia. Any extra clothing you wear provides insulation. Merino socks will keep your feet warm.

How to stay warm at night

Next, it’s time to prepare for your night in the igloo. A hot drink or soup will warm you up inside and prepare your body well for the upcoming night in the snow. It’s also recommended that you wear a warm hat. This is because heat mainly escapes through your head during the night, and the hat prevents the heat from your body escaping from the sleeping bag to the outside. This keeps you warm and snug in your sleeping bag – you won’t want to get out of it in the morning. Keep your head lamp close to you in case you have to get up in the night and leave the igloo. In the video, René and Myriam give you more tips on how to stay warm at night.

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The morning after: waking up in the igloo

It’s a glorious feeling when you wake up early in the morning, crawl out of the igloo and there’s not a soul to be seen anywhere. The unspoilt snowy landscape makes up for the somewhat chilly night. The utter silence is broken only by the soft crunching of snow underfoot. As you take your first breath, you feel refreshed and alive as the cool air flows into your lungs.

If you don’t fancy building your own igloo, you can also spend the night in a ready-made snow house in an igloo village. Many larger ski resorts in Switzerland offer this type of accommodation. If you want to build your own igloo, we have detailed instructions for you here. You can also have the full winter experience with an all-seasons tent. This will make your overnight stay in the snow something special.

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