Sleeping accommodation and event location – the Igloo Village in Kühtai
Doctors recommend sleeping in a cool bedroom, don’t they? Well, here in the Igloo Village in Kühtai you can sleep under 10,000 cubic metres of snow! The air at this altitude is pure and clear, so a little partying at Innsbruck’s highest event location is even good for your health – well, kind of! But how long does it take 10 people to build an igloo village? And how on earth DO they build it? The Austrian igloo architect Philipp Walschebauer lets us in on all the secrets (translated from German)!
The facts – cold and compact
10,000 cubic meters is the volume of snow transported by a small avalanche. And it’s the amount of snow required to create the Igloo Village. Over a period of 2-4 weeks 10 people are at work building the Igloo Village in Kühtai at an altitude of 2,000 metres above sea level. “Depending on snow conditions we starting building around the end of November or beginning of December,” explains Philipp, the mastermind behind the concept and manager of the Igloo Village. “Snow is what makes the whole thing possible. Using snow blowers we cover the giant balloons with snow then let the air out of them.” That’s how the hollow space inside is created. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But take a look here at some of the work stages involved, as well as some of the facts and figures:
- Either artificially produce the snow, or bring it and blow it to where you need it.
- It takes 1,500 cubic meters to build the Igloo Bar (main igloo) alone, 10,000 cubic metres for the whole village.
- The village comprises 14 igloos (12 for sleeping in, 1 igloo bar and 1 event igloo).
- Inflate the balloon, secure it and cover it with snow using snow blowers.
- Move the snow to where it’s needed using piste groomers and snow blowers.
- Leave the snow to settle so that it consolidates and becomes firmer and more stable.
- The snow that makes up the roof/ceiling of the igloo needs to be at least 1 metre thick. The walls are up to 4 metres thick.
- Work your way in to the balloon’s air valve then let the air out.
- Shape the igloo. The ‘shapers’ are those who form the snow – they create patterns, sculptures, seating areas and alcoves inside the igloo.
- Put in doors, lay electric cables, set up the bar, install lighting and position the ice sculptures.
- Building time: approx. 4 weeks; cost: 60,000 Euros; 500 km of cables.
- Who discovered it? The Swiss, twenty years ago. The technique of using the balloon and blowing snow onto it was the invention of our Alpine neighbours.
Chilled-out sleeping accommodation
At this altitude, and in an igloo to boot, it’s not exactly warm. And yet there are people, starry-eyed couples in particular, who sleep here. “Doctors recommend that you sleep in a cool bedroom, don’t they?” laughs Philipp. It’s romantic and most certainly out-of-the-ordinary. Guests sleep muffled up in warm sleeping bags on a bed frame made of snow, on top of which is a foam-filled mattress.
“Many guests are struck by the peace and quiet inside the Igloo Village,” enthuses Philipp. “City people, in particular, are no longer familiar with the concept of stillness.” While writing this article I was overcome with an overwhelming desire to spend a night up there – even though my darling but snoring girlfriend would want to come too. The igloo walls can take it, I’m sure!
Two different packages are available which can be booked with the igloo architect himself – Igloo Basic for € 119 per person and Igloo Romantic for € 150 per person. The package includes cheese fondue, chocolate fountain, wake-up service, campfire, snowshoe walk and tobogganing, and a special surprise for couples.
Cool party life
The Igloo Village is also the perfect location for those who really want to let their hair down. “Our Event Igloo is very popular for company incentives,” says Mr. Igloo. You don’t want it toooooo quiet, after all, do you? The bottom line is that both party animals and those seeking peace and tranquillity get their money’s worth in the Igloo Village. It’s really ‘cool’ up here, in the truest sense of the word!
In addition the Igloo Village also offers the following:
- Igloo-building workshops
- Husky workshops
- Snowshoe hikes with tobogganing
- Alpine-style curling
- Snow football
- Biathlon (rifle shooting and cross-country skiing)
- Avalanche transceiver searches (finding a buried person with a transceiver device)
- Snow tubing and ‘Zipfelbob’ sledding
Just do it!
So, I’ve decided. I’m going for it – I’m going to book a romantic break for my beloved and I! We’re going to spend a night up there. The Igloo Village opens on 25th December 2015. It’ll be at least the middle of April before the igloos melt. So maybe we’ll see each other up there. If you hear someone snoring, it’s not me!