Build your own igloo… then sleep in it. If you dare

From mid-March, an igloo village will spring up on Adelboden’s Engstligenalp, as it does every year, when 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’s assured of a great 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…
Building an igloo; the igloo village starts to take shape

You don’t have to be a professional builder to take part: instruction and equipment are provided, all participants need to have 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, 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 and the joy of competing, plus have lunch, dinner and breakfast provided – inside in a warm mountain hut!
Individual igloo at night; the Igloo Festival village at night

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. Adelboden’s Igloo Festival is always popular among families, university ski teams, groups of friends and even companies, who use the event for team building and corporate bonding. If you are interested in taking part in this year’s event, registration has been extended to 2 March – email, call +41 33 673 8080 or visit for more information.

For more information on Adelboden, please visit



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