The wintercamps this semester were a great success. The weather was perfect, we had lots of snow, and the shelters were of high quality. A perfect scenario for the many first time winter campers.
This semester we decided to split the group in two and have two nights out. This was a great advantage to all, as each Quinzhee was able to be used twice, which meant double the amount of people to build and to dig out the shelters. Most groups decided to do this and it resulted in large and well designed Quinzhees, which is key to a good nights' sleep.
The temperatures for both nights hovered around -10 C, which is perfect for a night out in the snow. Cool enough to ensure people don't get too wet and not too cold. The Wednesday night crew did have quite a bit of wind mixed with some snow blasts, which made it seem much cooler, apparently -27 C with the wind chill. That didn't stop our crew from enjoying the night. We knew the winds were coming and walls were build around the campfires, where many hot dogs and marshmallows were roasted. The students also played games like manhunt to keep themselves warm, but most importantly, once inside the Quinzhees, the winds were not even noticeable. On Thursday night, there was very little wind and a quite mild -4 C and you could tell as students hung around the fire a bit longer than the night before.
Most of the students this semester had never spent a night out in winter and with only a few exceptions, the majority had a great warm night.
I will let the students tell their stories in the comments below.