Clayton Dame and Ryan Edmonds inside of their quinzee taken Sat morning. Wake up boys an flash in the eyes from the camera!! (Amanda Hugon photo)

Clayton Dame and Ryan Edmonds inside of their quinzee taken Sat morning. Wake up boys an flash in the eyes from the camera!! (Amanda Hugon photo)

Terrace Scouts camp overnight in snow huts

The quinzee snow huts are good survival shelters for youth, says a volunteer leader with Terrace scouts

A group from the Terrace Scouts Club burrowed into the snow for a winter campout at a farm just north of Terrace recently.

Nine scouts came for the campout, and only five scouts braved the whole night in their dig out shelters Feb. 9, with temperatures as low as -20 C by the next morning.

Planned last minute, it was a small group that met Friday afternoon at the farm, spending three hours digging into previously plowed snowbanks to make what is known as quinzee shelters — shelters where snow is piled, left to sinter (bind), and then hollowed out inside.

The scouts then had supper, went tobogganing and skiing, and enjoyed hot chocolate and a campfire before bundling into their snow huts for the night.

Mike Dame, a volunteer leader with Terrace scouts, said this is the first time in four years they’ve had enough snow to build the quinzee huts, which are a valuable part of the survival skills they want to teach.

“[The quinzee is] a survival shelter if you ever get stranded in the snow,” said Dame. “If you build a quinzee properly, it’s insulation to keep you warm. Basically a candle will warm up a quinzee to the point where you are not going to freeze to death.”

And it’s learning those good survival skills and sharing life experiences that are at the heart of the winter campouts.

“It’s to develop the kids’ wilderness skills. We run lots of different skills training,” said Dame, explaining that campouts include training for proper fire building, knife and axe handling, staying dry and building shelters.

“There’s just lots of good life skills and life experiences that kids get from there,” he said.

The campout is an annual event for the Terrace Scouts Club, identified as one of the largest scout groups in B.C., with 113 youth and 28 volunteer leaders and administrators.

Terrace has the largest club in the Cascadia region, and only two clubs in the province have higher registration (SurDel in Surrey with 125 youth, and East Vancouver with 127).