EYE ON DESIGN #4: Snow Houses

Geoff LeGallais lives and breathes home design even when he’s out snow camping in California’s High Sierra. Here’s what he and a group of able-bodied men built above Lake Tahoe. They do it every March. This is the 15th anniversary of  the event  founded by Geoff’s buddy Mike Queirolo.  Geoff says: “Call it an exercise in structural design if you like. We just call it Snow Cave 2008.” He describes the process:  “We dig a 10-person snow cave and live like kings in our winter oasis for four days. Twelve hours of picking, shoveling and hauling ended with the largest cave on record for this event and memories that will last a lifetime.”

cave entrances

Are there lessons here that can be applied to building a new house? Sure: teamwork, not to mention team-building, is essential. So are the right tools, proper insulation, and good food to keep the energy and interest up and of course something to toast each other’s accomplishment at the end of the day. And in this house the well-stocked refrigerator-freezer is very convenient. If caves are not your thing, consider these snow- ready designs from Houseplans.com:

Plan 64-178


Plan 23-2047



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