Last updated: 08:33 AM ET, Fri March 13 2015

This Weekend's Igloo Festival is Seriously Cool

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | March 13, 2015

This Weekend's Igloo Festival is Seriously Cool

This weekend on the Engstligenalp plateau in Adelboden, Switzerland, a village of igloos will spring up with fervor during the annual Igloo Festival.  Teams from around the world will compete in the igloo-building contest in hopes of taking home a prize. There is a catch: contestants are expected to spend the night in their creation hoping to brave the cold and the surefootedness of their construction.

This is not just a contest for professionals, as the contest is open to anyone who would like to participate. According to the committee, all that is needed is “work ethic, patience and good humor.”  The Alpine School in Adelboden will have experts onsite to lend advice to the contestants and all of the shovels, snow saws and other tools of the trade are provided. The contestants work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. forming their igloos for the panel who will judge based on creativity, architectural aesthetics, safety and functionality. Teams compete for prizes of lift passes, dinner, outdoor gear and more.

Once the judging is over, sunset drinks will be shared and the contestants will take up residence in their new homes for the night, waking up to a hearth-cooked breakfast. There are two packages that you can buy, one with cooking and one where you provide your own and teams can be of any number with the only caveat being that your igloo must be large enough to sleep your entire team. Contestants vary from families to friends to leisure groups and even have included corporations using the contest for team building.

If you are looking to make a long weekend or week of it, Adelboden has been voted the third best ski area in Switzerland and the sixth in Europe.  Other activities include cross-country skiing trails, as well as a snow park, a free ride arena, freestyle runs, sledding trails and snow tubing, dog-sled rides, and if you were too scared to compete, you can hone your skills by taking an igloo-building class. There are plenty of places to stay including an endless amount of ski chalets, rental homes and plenty of hotels as well.  There are also 21 restaurants in the area with every type of cuisine from Swiss to Asian.

So get your warm clothes on and get ready to build. There's not much time to research, so book that ticket and go in cold; just the same you are going to have to sleep in the bed you make, literally! 


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