Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 69° Partly Cloudy

The ins and outs of building snow forts

By Staff reports

When the snow piles high there are few better ways to enjoy a day outside than building every kid’s dream.

Snow forts come in all styles and for all kinds of play. Most are hastily built as a defense against snowballs. Others are basically a tunnel with perhaps a place to turn around or sit.

More elaborate snow forts resemble an igloo. There are entire website dedicated to snow fort building.

Mountaineers and other winter campers prefer to call their snow forts snow caves and take them seriously as a safe and fun winter refuge to provide shelter from storms and even offer a bit of warmth.

What they all have in common is the unabashed joy of building them and the inevitable attention to small details that make each one unique.

Many snow forts assembled in the backyard on Saturday mornings resemble little more than a broken fortress from medieval times. The high front walls taper in a broad arc providing defense from a frontal assault by the neighbor kids or a scheming sibling.

Best atop these walls are icy turrets. They give any fort a hint of sophistication. They also provide snowball throwers a rich target to try and knock over. Think empty cans lined up on a fence.

The downside of such snow forts is that unlike the castle ruins they resemble, they have a brief existence. Not many snowball forts last longer than the call for dinner. Ultimately the forts are breached and stomped – often with the help of the builders.

And that’s OK.

Sometimes the best at-home snow forts in Spokane are right there in the front yard after the snow is blown or shoveled from driveways into impressive mounds.

Armed with small shovels and a dose of grit, burrowing into a pile of solid snow brings out the denning instinct among kids, and let’s face it, adults.

Burrowing beneath the snow often carries with it parental safety admonishments. And for good reason.

But these tunnels can be glorious when they lead to small bunkers beneath the snow. These cozy hideaways spur ideas for spending the night outside, or at the very least are turned into afternoon snack and hot cocoa shacks.

Most epic kid-inspired snow forts can be found where the snow is truly deep, such as in the mountains.

For years adventurous young skiers have dug forts into the deep snow near the Selkirk Lodge at Mt. Spokane’s Nordic ski area.

After an exhausting day of skiing up and down the trails what better way to top it off than gathering friends and working together on a snow fort fit for a survivalist


This year might be just right for discovering and encouraging the construction of great snow forts.

The mountains are loaded and the long-term outlook is for a snowy winter.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.