Snowdrifts aren’t an uncommon sight around campus this time of year, but one such mound on North Campus outside of St. John Vianney Seminary is distinctly man-made.
A group of seminarians built the structure, called a quinzhee, after Tuesday’s snowfall. It’s not an igloo; it’s a quinzhee. An igloo is made of snow or ice blocks, but a quinzhee is a hollowed-out mound of hardened snow.
“We let it sit for a few days for it to harden and stick together,” said freshman Max Mauch-Morff, who helped with the quinzhee’s construction. “Especially with that snowfall, it was very powdery, so it wasn’t going to hold up if we started digging right away.”
The mastermind behind this winter shelter, freshman Brandon Garcia, is no stranger to snow-crafted dwellings. In his junior year of high school, he learned the finer points of working with snow in a winter activites class, such as ensuring proper wall thickness.
“It’s preferred that you stick sticks about 12 inches thick from the outside in,” Garcia said. “We didn’t have that many sticks so we just kind of used a ruler.”
While this is the first quinzhee they’ve built at St. Thomas, Garcia and Mauch-Morff hope it becomes a tradition for future classes of seminarians.
“We want it to be an annual tradition, because it’s just a good bonding experience between brothers making this structural thing,” Mauch-Morff said. “It brings you creative abilities, and it’s a good workout too.”
They hope it becomes a seminarian tradition but don’t mind if other students copy the structure.
“The more quinzhees there are, the more people that can enjoy them,” Garcia said.
The seminarians’ quinzhee is open to all, but Garcia hopes fellow students will follow a few ground rules to respect their creation.
“Don’t destroy it, and don’t do anything immoral in it,” he said.