On March 4 2015, I stayed in a quinzhee overnight with my Outdoor Ed group. It was a great experience even though the morning had cooled down to -24 degrees. The group that I stayed with included Max, Terence, Dylan and Andrew. We had been preparing for this night for two weeks building the quinzhee and digging it out. In reflecting on this experience I think I did many things well, and had a few areas to improve on. Also I have suggestions for people who want to stay in a quinzhee in the future.
There were three things that I did well to prepare for our overnight trip. First, I was strong at working on building the quinzhee. I was staying on task during class time, shovelling snow or digging. Secondly, I feel that I wore the proper layers to cope with the cold and windy weather. Finally, the last thing that I did well was bringing the right amount of food and bringing healthy food for our group members. Not all my group members ate my food though – sadly they missed out on my great chili!
There were a couple of things that I would improve upon if I could do this overnight experience again. For example, I would have chosen a different amount of people in our group, because it was quite crowded with five boys in my quinzhee. The second thing that I would improve on would be preparing and organizing my things for the next morning before I went to bed, because my equipment was all in a mess by the front door and my boots were frozen. Next time I would move our boot storage area into the quinzhee.
I have a few recommendations for someone building and sleeping a Quinzhee for the first time. First, I recommend bringing extra clothes to change into if yours gets wet or you get cold. I would also recommend bringing a large amount of pre-cooked food so it will be quick to heat up without actually having to cook it. Finally, I would build the quinzhee as big as you can so you can have space for extra people and/or extra personal items.
That night was an interesting and new experience for me, because I had never slept in a quinzhee before. I even tried building one at home after learning about these at school, but I think I’ll have to wait until next year to have it ready to sleep in overnight.