The Risks of a Snow Fort

Noah Richardson, Reporter

We all know the joys of the holiday season: the snow covered mountains, the holiday lights and the fun times playing in a winter wonderland. Along with snowball fights and snowmen, another snow packing pastime presents itself as a fun way to enjoy the winter: snow forts. Snow forts have been an enjoyable activity for many who seek a more creative way to celebrate the snow and create something new. But even something as simple and fun as making a fort out of snow has its difficulties, risks and even dangers.
To many, heavy snowfall means shoveling driveways and driving on icy roads , but children frequently see this as an opportunity to create something and have some fun in the frozen white piles. While it may seem safe and relatively routine to build something out of snow, there is a hidden hazard in constructing things from snow. Many find the easiest way to build a fort is to dig a tunnel and carve away layers of snow from the inside until there is a room large enough to enjoy, but this approach is prone to collapse. According to a study done by The University of Chicago last year, “Nearly two thousand” people in the U.S. are injured or harmed fatally annually by snow fort related accidents.
To avoid this, it is important to keep safety in mind. To stay warm, always wear a coat, hat, gloves and shoes. Collapses can be avoided by not building a roof, or avoiding adding snow without any support under it. Another simple way to avoid injuries is to work in groups, and always tell someone what you are doing and where you are. Finally, try to avoid digging tunnels into naturally or unnaturally called snowdrifts; this is more likely to collapse due to the lack of structure.
Winters can be very fun, and building a snow fort with some friends can be a way to make the winter even better, but safety has to be a priority. When you are finished, maybe have some hot chocolate waiting for you inside, next to a warm fireplace. Stay warm and safe, and have some fun this winter.