Building an igloo and sleeping in it – how romantic is that?
The five of us stand back to admire our handiwork. We’ve done it; we’ve actually built an igloo! The evening before, Christoph, our ski guide, had persuaded us to build one here, roughly 1000 meters up on Flumserberg Mountain in the Swiss Canton St. Gallen, and even to spend the night in it! He promised us it would be an unforgettable experience.
It took us three hours of hard labor to stamp down the snow, cut out and haul the ten-kilo blocks to the site and stack them to form our igloo. Apparently, the work wasn’t quite as hard for the others as it was for me. I’m sweating like mad under my ski suit, which, true to the manufacturer’s promise, keeps the heat close to my body. But my hands are still half-frozen. I can’t wait to unroll my sleeping bag beside those of my companions, and when I do, I fall asleep at once. I barely even notice the burning candle we’ve placed at the entrance to help us keep track of the oxygen level.
I wake up in the middle of the night, alone with the candle. Where are the others? I crawl out of my sleeping bag and into my ski suit. Outside, it’s beautiful – total silence and a sky covered with stars – but I can’t enjoy it right now. Have the others gone without me? Surely they wouldn’t leave me up here on my own? I run through the knee-deep snow, calling out frantically – and start sweating again. A light! I reach a cabin, tear open the door and there they sit, wine glasses in hand, laughing hysterically at the figure I cut in the doorway. I was apparently the only one who took the idea of sleeping in an igloo seriously.