Every year teams of enthusiastic ‘builders’ from around the world gather to create a masterpiece in the hope of securing one of the top prizes at the Igloo Festival. Even if they don’t win, everyone is assured of a top 24 hours of entertainment in the Swiss Alps, as participants are expected to sleep in their igloos. If they trust their own building skills… And are prepared for the cold…
You don’t have to be a professional builder to take part: instruction and equipment are provided so all participants need to have (admittedly in spades) are a fierce work ethic, patience and good humour. Friendly advice is on tap from the experts at the Alpine School in Adelboden, while shovels and snow saws, essential tools of the trade, are supplied.
The competition starts at 9am on Saturday 14 March and work on the igloo must be complete by 5pm, ready to be judged, with prizes of lift passes, dinner, outdoor gear and more being awarded for creativity, architectural aesthetic, safety and functionality. Once the serious business is complete, the village comes alive to the sound of sunset drinks, then it’s time for the builders to hunker down in their newly-made homes, before a hearty cooked breakfast in the morning. The setting on Engstligenalp couldn’t be more dramatic – the biggest plateau in the western Swiss Alps provides a panoramic, almost lunar, backdrop to the Festival village.
There are two levels of entry. Teams can opt for self catering and pay CHF89 (approx £58) per person for a lift pass up to Engstligenalp, a welcome pack, instructions, equipment use and a night cap, plus – of course – the joy of competing, but they must take their own cooking utensils and food with them to make their own meals. Alternatively, for those who are feeling flush, teams can select the luxury (read soft) option and pay CHF149 (approx £97) per person for a lift pass up to Engstligenalp, a welcome pack, instructions, equipment use, a night cap, the joy of competing, plus have lunch, dinner and breakfast provided – inside in a warm mountain hut!
Teams can be any size from one upwards – but be aware that you have to build an igloo that will sleep you all so you might want to restrict your team numbers!
Interested in taking part in this year’s event? Get your skates on! Registration closes at midnight on 2 March. Email email@example.com or visit www.facebook.com/IgluFestival for the full low-down.