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Awesome dad builds igloo at Big White so daughters can have a sleepover

Duncan Robinson's three daughters getting ready to spend the night in the igloo their dad built.
Image Credit: Contributed
February 07, 2016 - 10:30 AM


BIG WHITE - If teaching yourself how to build an igloo from YouTube, then actually constructing the thing for your kids to have a sleepover, doesn’t qualify you for the title of Canadian superdad, it’s gotta get you runner-up.

That’s what Duncan Robinson did last weekend in Happy Valley up at the Big White Ski Resort, cutting building blocks from hard packed snow.

“It was pretty magical, pretty special,” the Lake Country dad says of the night spent with his three daughters on top of a Hudson Bay blanket and a couple of reindeer hides.

They lit candles at first for a bit of extra warmth and were roasty toasty, Robinson says.

“We had no problem sleeping all night."

American stereotypes aside, most Canadians have never seen an igloo let alone built one and slept overnight in it.

Robinson is a carpenter and an “outdoors type of guy” who had seen igloos up close before. He was intrigued, so he took to Youtube, in particular a segment where a pair of Inuit build an igloo for a classic 1949 National Film Board documentary.

“It took them about 45 minutes, it took me about three and a half hours,” he laughs.

Igloos are best built out of wind-swept compacted snow, currently unavailable in the Okanagan, so Robinson hauled blocks cut from groomed snow on a sled to his igloo site.

“In the video, they cut out the blocks for the walls right where the floor is going to be, so they already have a height advantage,” he adds. “They were so smart about it."

A couple candles kept the interior of the igloo toasty warm.
A couple candles kept the interior of the igloo toasty warm.
Image Credit: Contributed

Robinson says they got a late start Saturday afternoon and things went smooth at first, but as the walls got higher and started to lean into that igloo dome shape he ran into a few problems; well, one big one — he couldn’t quite get the roof to stay up.

His daughters’ initial enthusiasm for the project had soured a bit as it got colder and started to snow so Robinson sent them over to a friend’s chalet to warm up — Plan B if he couldn't fix the roof.

Determined to make it work, Robinson says he went back at it and and managed to solve his roofing problem. It was dark but still in time for the sleepover, using a sled to block the door against a major dump of snow.

“I thought it was great,” he says, of what some would call the quintessential Canadian experience. "There’s something very romantic and poetic about it. I loved the total silence, and the glow of the light. The girls loved it, too,”

His Facebook friends loved it too with some suggesting he find somewhere to build a bunch of igloos and rent them out — or at least come over and build one in their backyard.

Robinson says for now his plan is to go back up to Big White and build another one, hopefully a little faster.

Meanwhile, his first igloo is still sitting up in Happy Valley waiting for its next guests, some friends who are coming to Big White with their sons.

“They know about sleeping in the igloo and they’re pretty pumped,” he adds.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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