Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wintercamps 2013

Just before the Christmas Break, the Grade 10 & 11 classes participated in Wintercamp. For about a week, the students spent time piling snow and digging out their Quinzhees to get ready for the night out in the Canadian winter. The snow was good and temperatures ideal.

During the weekend before the wintercamps, we received a great amount of snow, which made building our piles quite easy. The temperatures also dropped to quite cold, ideal for staying out. The one challenge, because the temperatures stayed consistently cold, was that the snow in the quinzhees never fully set. Normal conditions would see the warmer day temperatures settle the snow and then the night freeze would settle it. This year we were missing the warming up. which meant that although the quinzhees were stable, they were still quite light and fluffy.

The nights themselves were amazing. A small crew on the first night enjoyed colder temperatures while they sat around the campfires. The night was quite cold, but the well made quinzhees made that a non-issue and most did quite well. The second night was quite a bit warmer and that was truly enjoyed by the large group as they spent the night around the fire. All in all, both nights were tremendous, with almost everyone doing quite well.

There are always many versions of the same stories on those nights, therefore I highly recommend that you read the reflections the students will attach to this post.

46 comments:

Zach St.Amour said...

This was my first winter camping experience. It was very fun but very different at the same time.

My group made our quinzhee very fast and effectively. We combined with a group from the period 4 to build our shelter faster. One thing that we were very good at was being organized the night of the camp. We had extra things like candles and lighters to make it extra warm in our quinzhee. We built a great campfire and even made some hot chocolate. Next time, I will probably bring more snacks because I was really hungry after building off our quinzee. Our shelter got pretty smokey after lighting the candles so we had to make a couple extra breathing holes so we didn't die. I packed warm clothing but I brought too much. I brought an extra pair of boots that I did not use so next time I will pack a bit more lightly.

Overall, I had a great experience on this camping trip. My group packed very well and was very organized. This is definetely something I would do again.

Briana Day said...

As second year outdoor ed students, my group and I tried using our errors and successes from last year's winter camp experience to make our quinzee better.

One thing that we changed this year compared to mine last year was the size. Last year we had 6 girls sharing one quinzee and made it larger than it had to be. This was fine before we went to sleep because we could have a lot of people sitting, but during the night it made it very cold. This year I was in a group of 4 and we made our quinzee much smaller so that it wouldn't be as cold at night. This worked out pretty well because we were in a smaller space and kept the hot air in.

Another thing that we changed was we made a better cold sink, last year we didn't really have one so we made sure to try and fix that this year, and we did.

As for the building process it wasn't so much of a walk in the park because being 4 girls and not sharing our quinzee with a group from the night before, it was a lot of work for us. One of the most stressful parts was when we were digging it out we hit the top, resulting it forming a hole on the side of our quinzee. This really scared me because the last thing we wanted was our quinzee to collapse on us, considering all the hard work put into making it. We ended up covering the hole with a line of sticks, a tarp and snow to top it and make it safe again.

We planned and prepared our meal ahead to make it less of hassle on the night of, and it worked out quite well, none of us starved. For most of the night we sat next to the fire and hung out in another group's quinzee just talking and having fun.

As for during the night, I was on one of the sides so since our quinzee was kind of small my sleeping bag was touching the side of the quinzee, this made me somewhat cold during some parts of the night, but since I was prepared with a -18 degree sleeping bag and a 10 degree fleece liner I was toasty warm for most of the night. It also helped that I had packed the clothes that I wore because I wore insulating layers only to sleep so it helped in keeping me at a good temperature.

When we woke up all of our stuff was either wet or frozen, but this is only to be expected when sleeping in a snow shelter. I believe our ceiling also closed in a little bit possibly due to the hole so this caused it to start melting because of how hot it was in the quinzee.

Overall I had a good experience because I was well prepared and had fun with the people I was with.

Thomas McDonald said...

winter camp reflection


This year's winter camp was so much better then last years. This was do to our overall work ethic as well as our proper planning and preparation of the quinzee.


Considering there was eight of us we were able to build a huge quinzee with a wall with windows dividing the quinzee into two. Originally we were going to only have one window but we ended up with two. As I was thinning out one side of the wall I accidently put the shovel through the wall. luckily it didn't affect the structural integrity of the wall. I would recommend people to be careful when thinning out walls in the quinzee.


The night was great we ate enchiladas by the fire and hung out outside around our quinzee for a while. We talked, hung out and just had fun outside. We had lots of snacks like twizzlers , brownies and potato chips. Overall I would say we had a really great winter camp experience with minimal mistakes.


all the mistakes I and my group members made were minor but mistakes none the less. one mistake we made was before we started dinner we set up some candles in our quinzee. Later after dinner we went inside for a few minutes to get some snacks we had bought. On our way to the entrance of our quinzee we could see light through the back wall of the quinzee, it was the candles. we then put those candles out luckily it hadn't melted the back wall to much. Besides that there really wasn't many mistakes we made as a group and it really did not affect our winter camp experience. The one mistake I made was not bringing an extra pair of dry boots to wear in the morning. So I had to put on a frozen pair of boots in the morning. Overall this winter camp was a lot better than last years I slept better and the quinzee was warmer due to a well built cold sink.


In conclusion I would recommend people who are going to winter camp to be careful when digging out your quinzee. As well as be careful with candles and bring a dry pair of boots to put on in the morning. If you do that as well as work with your group members to plan your meal and quinzee. You will have a great time.

jonathan soles said...

This was the first time that I have tried winter camping. It was an interesting experience.

During the winter camp trip my partner and I finished working on our quinzee. I was feeling good about how it was turning out but I was a bit worried about the size inside. I thought that it could have been a bit bigger. We heated up our chili around the fire and ate our supper.Some of the things that I would have done differently would have been to make the quinzee bigger on the inside if I had had time. I also would have packed more snacks and an extra thermos of hot chocolate to drink during the night to keep warm. The thing that I liked least about this overnight camping was the cold because I don't enjoy the cold and I found it hard to sleep during the night. It may not have felt as cold if our quizee had been bigger even though it was one of the coldest nights of the winter. The thing that I liked the most about this experience was hanging out with friends around the camp fire. My clothes were warm enough for sitting around the fire and when we were playing games away from the fire.

Overall I thought it was a good experience to try. Hopefully this will help anyone who maybe trying winter camping in the future.

Erin James said...

The winter-camp experience was very fun and sometimes difficult.

Building the quinzhee took a few days to make but it would have taken us longer if we hadn’t combined our group with another from period 1. The night of the winter-camp, me and a friend of mine volunteered to sleep in another quinzhee because we had to add an extra person and there ultimately wasn’t enough room. Julia and I had to pick another quinzhee that was already built and that wasn’t used, except what we had to do was dig it out. We had a lot of help with our friends but it wasn’t really built right; it was way too small for two people to sleep in. Julia and I were shivering the whole night and we barely slept at all. I somehow got snow inside my sleeping bag and I woke up completely wet. Now I can take this experience and make sure next year goes better. I actually had to call my mom at one point to bring me a warmer pair of boots and some more pairs of socks because the ones I brought were not warm enough and I couldn’t feel my toes. I remember when Julia and I were trying to sleep I’d ask her like every 30 minutes if it was 7 o’clock yet because that’s when I knew the school was open for sure. I was so happy when she told me it was 7, so we ran inside to go to the bathroom and get warm. We came back later to get all our stuff and cleaned up.

I think what I enjoyed the most was sitting by the fire with friends just talking and cooking dinner. I cooked my friends some spider-dogs and someone else made pasta which was really yummy. We were supposed to have oatmeal for breakfast but we didn’t end up having any. I think what I would change next year is the menu because we didn’t have all the food groups. What I liked the least was doing the dishes because it was really gross.

Overall I really did enjoy myself and I hope I can do it again next year.

Joshua Day said...


The winter camp was a very cool and interesting night. My group was very prepared and it clearly showed during the night.

At the Wintercamp, I learned lots and understood what it's like to sleep outside for a night. I thought it went well and I was well prepared we started a bit hungry, then we made soup and hot chocolate and we were full. I thought the choice of our food was quite smart because soup is a healthy and filling, and hot chocolate keeps you warm for a long time. I was quite nervous about sleeping in a quinzhee because I have never slept outside in the winter before and I get cold really easily. However I would without a doubt do it again. I think my group; Jon and Zach were really good partners. I think this because, they never stopped working and they were always positive about whatever happened. I learned that you should never get out of your warm quinzhee and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you will never get warm again. I also learned the less clothing you wear the warmer you are. Next time I do this, I wouldn't make a quinzhee so big because there was so much open-space which just makes you colder. The reason our quinzhee was so big was that a group of four was sleeping in at the next night. I thought that my clothes were smart choice because the had under armor as my base layer and a fleece jacket as my insulating layer. I also had my coat as my shell, this kept me warm through the day as well as the night.

Overall this was a great and enjoyable night, which I hope to do again soon.

susboi98 said...

I had heard from many people that wintercamp had been an interesting experience. Some say it was fun and exciting while others say they didn't enjoy it at all. I interviewed two grade ten students who experienced wintercamp themselves, the first interview was with Jaden Allaire. Here's how it went.

How did you enjoy your first wintercamping experience?
Jaden: "It was fun although it could have been better if we had tried to sleep earlier."
How could you ensure that you could get more sleep if you did it again?
Jaden: "I stayed up too late which made me more tired and made the experience worse. I should have slept earlier."
If there was a certain thing you could change about the night, what would it be?
Jaden: "Like I said before I would have slept earlier, but I also would have brought warmer clothes."
Would you change anything about the construction of your quinzhee?
Jaden: "Yes, I would have made it bigger because at night it was very crowded. Also I would have made the sleep platform better because i was sliding out of it at night."

The interview had to stay short as Jaden was quite busy himself, here is the interview with Ethan Cowley, another student who experienced wintercamp but did not particularly enjoy it.

How did you enjoy sleeping in the quinzhee?
Ethan: "I thought they were very well built but it was too cold to get a good sleep in."
Yes, Snow can be cold at times. What was your favourite part?
Ethan: "My favourite part was probably when I could go home and take a warm shower haha."
So I see you didn't enjoy yourself here, what would you change to make it better?
Ethan: "I probably wouldn't have went. This must have been in the top 50 worst experiences of my life so far."

The interview had to be cut off here so that Ethan wouldn't say anything worse than he already did. It is quite obvious that some people enjoyed themselves more than others, but there is one thing that is certain. This was a once in a lifetime experience and a great story that can be told.

Dylan Jesso said...

Winter camp to me was an overall success this year, but I did run into a few issues along the way. Our quinzhee was awesome, but wasn’t perfect. Our Food was amazing, but it wasn’t very healthy. And the trip was a blast, but it felt rushed. Going into winter camp it felt like everything positive had one thing wrong with it.

To start things off, our quinzhee was really cool. It took a lot of us a long time to build, but it ended up looking very nice and providing lots of room for us all to sleep and even hang out with other groups. The building process took quite some time and due to the limited working hours it didn’t turn out as great as we though. It ended up not having enough of a cool sink and was not very flat for sleeping in one of the rooms. It made for a very drafty and cold night, as well as very uncomfortable for a few of us on a count of the crooked floor. Some of the more positive features of our quinzhee would include some windows connecting the very large two rooms, two very well dug entrances, and enough height on either side of it to enjoy some well deserved down time. Although it looked very cool, it wasn’t very practical. Given the time to work on it though, I would call it a success.

The food on the trip was another thing that really stuck out to me. It was some of the most delicious food I have had on an outdoor ed trip, but wasn’t the greatest at keeping to the health rules. It was enchiladas with beans, chicken, burrito sauces, and some cheese. We did manage to get some grain from the tortilla, dairy in the cheese, and meat with our chicken, but the beans were hardly enough supplement for our veggie and fruits. One thing we could have done was cut up some lettuce and peppers which would have made it more of a balanced meal. Cooking it didn’t take too long which made for a very easy and stress free supper. The beans and sauce took a little while to get going, but once they were hot all that was left was to cook the chicken strips which took almost no time at all. The whole thing together was very tasty and on the side we had some regular potato chips and sodas to drink. Again, fruit juice and crackers would have been healthier, but the taste and price of chips and pop swayed us to make our decision.

Lastly, the trip felt rushed for me personally. Last year I felt very relaxed and had a great time building, hanging around the fire, and waking up to a great breakfast. This year felt more rushed because I was involved in so much more stuff that seemed to all take place at the same time. On the night of the camp I was working with Kevin and Mr. Solomon to rehearse with all of the groups for the famous Christmas assembly. This greatly shortened my time at the camp and also held me back from being able to bring all my stuff in at the correct time and help set up. Once I had finally finished that work it seemed like the night was almost over and I was worried about getting enough sleep for my basketball practice the next day. We ate our food and played some games and then in what felt like two minutes we were all in our quinzhees getting ready for bed. The night was a little chilly, but bearable and getting up in the morning was cold as well due to the fact that I had to rush out and happened to brush some snow from the ceiling and into the shirt by accident. I got all of my stuff ready and headed to practice which stopped me form enjoying a nice breakfast and rendered me useless during the clean up period because of my absence. The trip felt very quick, but overall was still enjoyable. The short time spent having fun was more fun than I would have had at home.

In short my experience at winter camp was enough to get me to come back and do it all again next year. Our quinzhee was cold, but was the coolest one I had ever seen. The food was unhealthy, but tasted amazing. And my time there felt short, but a great time was compacted into that one night. I would definitely do this again and I hope more students decide to join the class.

Mya Gledhill said...

Overall, this has been the best outdoor ed experience yet. Although I may not have had the best sleep, being with friends by the campfire at night and building the quinzhee made it all worth it.

During our hiking trip in the fall, I was not as prepared as I should have been. I thought I need to be more prepared since this night would be in the cold winter. I wanted to make sure I had everything planned ahead of time. While building the quinzhee, we realized our group was much slower than others. Some of our group members decided to stay after school two of the days before our night outdoors. We wanted to make sure everything was finished ahead of time. With some help from some friends sleeping out the night before, it didn’t take long to have it perfect for our night out. I’m so glad we did this because it gave us a huge advantage. During class, we were able to collect firewood and decide where people and things would go in our quinzhee.

Later that night, we learnt that one of our classmates did not have her quinzhee finished and her group members were no longer staying overnight, she would be sharing with us. There was just one problem, we had absolutely no room in our quinzhee. We all wondered what we could do until we found a snow mound that had not been dug out yet to be a quinzhee. A number of us went over to start digging it out. Since there were so many of us helping, it didn’t take long for it to be finished.

I had to leave early evening, so I could not stay for dinner, but I heard it was very good. They warmed up pasta with cheese on the fire and had hot dogs. May not have been the healthiest meal, but tasted great especially made over the fire. When I came back, most of us sat around the campfire with friends.

It started to snow later on it the night and it wasn’t until after we left the campfire that we realized all of our stuff had been left in the snow. We didn’t want to wake the others sharing our quinzhee so we took whatever we could find when it came to sleeping bags. This was not a smart idea, and even though the night was not freezing or anything, it still could have been much warmer if we used all of our blankets.

Waking up and bringing our stuff inside was definitely the hardest part. Some of our stuff was forgotten by the campfire, having to walk back in the cold was dreadful. Luckily, we were just outside the school, so we had access to hot showers and the warmth of the indoors.

Tarek I. said...

Winter Camp Reflection
Winter camp was the most difficult activity of this course, yet I didn’t give up hope through the night. Building the shelter/quinzhee was part of the difficulty, especially in the colder temperatures. Even though I was camping on the second night, which was warmer, it was still the coldest night I’ve ever experienced in my life.

To begin, there were many numerous difficulties throughout the camp and the quinzhee building. There was not enough time to pile up snow when I had the opportunity, because of the two fieldtrips after each other. Therefore, my partner and I had to pile up the fresh snow from the beginning of the other week. Not only that, but the previous week was horrible just because of the fact that every time my partner and I would pile up snow, some other class would just dig into it and use it for their own quinzhee. Anyways, one day before the camp, the quinzhee was piled up. However, my partner decided not to be there on a day where I need him the most to dig out the quinzhee. I had to deal with that by myself, so I asked a classmate for help. On the camp day, the only dug out part was the tunnel, therefore, my partner who appeared that day, worked with me double the amount to finish some space in order to sleep in. By the afternoon, the quinzhee wasn’t done, so we had to work in a time where we had to start looking for firewood and setup a campfire. In the sleeping matter, we were ready by 6 o’clock, which was dark and pretty cold. Alright, the quinzhee is done, great, but there was always problems left, everything I was wearing was frozen from the outside and moist from the inside. It took a while to warm up, especially with no fire. Night time was the worst time in all; since the quinzhee contained new snow, it was dripping every few minutes or maybe an hour. I was shivering every few minutes throughout the night; I also was counting every second left to enter the school (freedom). The sleeping bag was wet and so were my feet; apparently my socks were so wet that they froze off my feet when I was sleeping (I never found my frozen socks). The socks were not the only frozen object; everything I wore when digging in the quinzhee was completely frozen.

As for the food plan, it lacked some variation or “using the fire to cook”. The main thought was to get a ready precooked meal, which then ended up to be cooked chicken into a wrap with vegetables and salad dressing. The main idea of this was to prevent me from cooking, since I’m not really used to cooking. I also brought a backup plan of Mr. Noodles, which I didn’t use since I had two cheese pies in handy. As for the drinks, I had juice boxes and a seven up can, which I didn’t bring outside, because I knew that it would freeze. Therefore, all I had to do was to heat my sandwiches or wraps on the grill and to have the drinks inside.

The things I would change is everything I stated in the previous paragraph. The first priority is to build the quinzhee earlier, so that it wouldn’t be fragile like the new snow. I would definitely not work on the quinzhee before the camp starts in order to maintain the heat. I would also start my own campfire and actually take some time to gather a decent amount of firewood. I also would definitely buy new more weather resistant gloves and mainly socks. Although my two backpacks were full, I would have packed more layers of clothes just in case the previous clothes are wet. Maybe next time, I would actually cook instead of having ready and easy made food.

To conclude, I didn’t enjoy the snow camping experience very much, but it is good practice if I am stranded outside in winter. I would definitely hesitate to camp outside in a snow house that could collapse in a weather of -20 degrees Celsius.

Ally Baker said...

After all of the things that I had heard about the winter camp I can honestly say that I was scared going into it. With that being said looking back now I know that those feelings of fear were for no reason. My experience in the quinzee stay was nothing less than amazing.

I would say the key factor that helped make my night so wonderful was the way we built our shelter. We used all of the techniques that Mr. Brouwer showed to us (cold sink, platform etc.) Using these techniques aloud us to have enough warmth and comfort in our shelter so that we could have a successful stay. The only thing that we could have changed and would consider in the future years to come would be space.  Although we were all best friends sleeping in our shelter, even for us the lack of extra space was a bit uncomfortable at times. Although, my sleep in the quinzee was very nice and the lack of space did not spoil it.

One mistake that our group made was in terms of our menu. I’m not exactly clear with what happened but our information with Mr. Brouwer got lost in translations. That being said, we decided it was a brilliant idea to get Subway for dinner only to later on realize we were expected to make our dinner for ourselves. Another thing that we made a mistake in was breakfast. We all believed that oatmeal was provided the next morning however we could not find any. This resulted in us being hungry for the Christmas Assembly!!!

Clean up the next morning went very smooth, quick and efficient. Our group as well as the other groups were all working on their individual shelters and equipment and that seemed to work well for my perspective. Destroying the shelter was fun and easy and allowed us to have a good morning laugh.

With all of that being said my experience at winter camp was a life changing experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. The only downfall would be that I lost my voice and couldn`t speak for two days after the stay, but hey I guess that means we had a great time!

Pablo Mirete said...

Since the moment I knew I would have to sleep an entire night in a quinzhee, I got terribly afraid that I would die frozen or buried in the snow. Eventually, I became excited about this new experience and the fears disappeared when we started building the quinzhee and I had the opportunity to see how it worked. I do not regret having gone to the wintercamp, in fact I would recommend it to anyone.

Thanks to the wintercamp I learnt how to build a quinzhee and some other useful survival skills like building a fireplace when there is snow around or knowing what to do if someone has hypothermia. These are skills that I had never learnt before because there is no snow where I come from, and temperatures only go as low as 10CÂș. That is why I found the wintercamp extremely interesting and fun.

What I enjoyed the most was building the quinzhee and the few hours before we all went to sleep, when my group and other ones hung out in our quinzhee. The worst was the cold we all suffered early in the morning and those cold water drops falling from the ceiling to my face during the whole night. I woke up more than five times!

I would have loved to be there from 3pm and have supper with my classmates but unfortunately I had piano class. It was pretty difficult to get to school on time because it was so dark that the bus that I was supposed to take, passed by the bus stop I was in without even noticing I was there. I got really stressed and I run from Youville up to Cairine Wilson while snowing carrying some of the equipment I used that night. I got there exhausted, but on time!

I think that, although our quinzhee was not perfect, it was pretty good. We should have made the entrance tunnel go downwards so the cold air could get out of the shelter more easily and some of the holes in the ceiling a little bit smaller because the ones we poked were too big. On the other hand, I think it was very good to be such a big one (it was a two-rooms quinzhee with a wall with windows in the middle ready to house eight people or more).

After waking up, we all started cleaning up and bringing all the equipment and gear to the outdoor ed room. Some people helped to clean up more than others but I believe we managed to do it in less than 30 minutes. After cleaning up, I went back to our quinzhee to take some pictures and I was impressed to see how low the ceiling had gone during the night!

During this “trip” I realized that my teamwork is a lot better than four months ago and that made me feel proud of myself.

I would not hesitate to do this again. Although it can sound a little bit crazy and cold, this experience is not as tough as it sounds. In fact, it’s really fun and unique. I encourage anyone reading this to join in a wintertime at some point of their lives. You will not regret it!

Nic Renaud said...

I had a lot of fun winter camping even though I am not a big fan of the cold.

I was in a small group (four people) so we decided that two people would sleep in the quinzhee one night, and the other two the other night. Due to having only two people per night, we decided to make ours smaller than the other ones. This was done to conserve body heat, not let as much cold air in and to make sure the candle light would light up the whole space. Our group was very efficient on building up the snow pile to start our quinzhee. once that was done we had to people work on digging out the snow and making the place to sleep. The other two that were not helping would help other groups that were struggling either on building up snow or tunnelling. We were finished one class early so we had time to add some finishing touches such as candle holders, storage area for things like matches and a leveled base to sleep on.

Once the work was done we had a lot of time to do whatever we wanted. We talked with friends, played king of the hill and things like that. We went out by the fire with friends and talked to friends. I collected a large amount of firewood for our fire as well as moving snow for another quinzhee that was not ready to sleep in. for dinner we had spider dogs, noodles and even some McDonald's.

When it was time for bed I had been cold from accidentally falling asleep outside, however after a few minutes of being inside out quinzhee, my toes weren't cold anymore and I was able to enjoy a nice and toasty, quiet sleep.

I had a great time winter camping and I would do it anytime again. This inspired me to make my own quinzhee in my driveway that could fit one person.

Julia Draper said...

The winter camp was fun and very educational for what have to change next year.

When we built the quinzhee it took a little long because we had 5 people to fit in there Even though we had extra people to help and longer time. Since we were working with people from the period 1 class, it still took a while and some people had to stay after school to completely finish it in time. On the night of the winter camp my friend and I had volunteered to sleep in another quinzhee because we had to add an extra person and there wasn’t enough room for 6 people in the one we made. So Erin and I had to pick a quinzhee that was not being used. The quinzhee that we picked was not dug out so many of us spent time doing that. The problem with that quinzhee is that it was very small so Erin and I were squished. The platform was also not high enough so a lot of cold air was coming in where we were sleeping. We couldn't make it any higher though because the snow pile was too short. I will definitely take this experience in mind to make next years time better and warmer.

My favourite part about it was talking to my friends around the fire. We ate some spider dogs and mac and cheese, but I thought that we should have had more because I was still a little hungry. I ended up having my dad come in the morning to get me Tim Hortons. I liked that we had a half day the next day instead of a full day because I did not sleep well so I was extra tired that day.

The thing that I will change next year is the planning for the quinzhee and the food. Other than that I had a pretty good time and hope to do it next year

Julia Draper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brianna Knight said...

This trip was the first time I have ever done a winter camp. I thought it would be a lot colder but luckily the night we slept over it was quite warm.
Our quinzee took a lot longer to build than we had expected even though we joined another group from the period four class. Three of us stayed after school a few days to work on it to be ready for Wednesday. On Tuesday after school we were working on it and a few of the boys who were sleeping over that night came and helped us dig out our quinzhee so we would be ready for our sleep over. It was great that we finished our quinzee the night before because during class we collected fire wood and put some finishing touches on it.
When we finished school we went to the outdoor ed room and found out that a another girls quinzhee was not finished and her group was no longer staying for the night. We decided that she would sleep with us. The only problem was that our quinzhee was too small to fit six people. We found another quinzee that was not being used, but was not dug out yet. So we spent most of our evening digging out another quinzhee. Once we finished digging it out, we started to get ready to eat. We had pasta with cheese and hotdogs cooked over the fire.
We stayed up by the fire really late and when we decided to go to bed we realized we had left all of our pillows and sleeping bags outside in the snow. It was really dark and we did not want to wake up the other people in our quinzhee. So we just grabbed whatever we could find. Next time I would prepare my sleeping area before going to sleep. The hardest part of the trip was probably waking up in the morning and bringing all of our stuff inside because we were up so late.
This trip and the hiking trip have been my favourite school trips I have been on by far.

Jonathan Lemieux said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan Lemieux said...

This was my first time ever saying in a quinzhee.

I was in a group of 3 with Josh Zach and I. We worked very hard and we finished very fast. Because we worked so hard we had the last day to do whatever we wanted to do. Because we are such nice people Zach and I went to go help other groups that hadn't finished yet. While we were helping the other groups Josh went out to get fire wood. For diner we cooked me noodles on the fire and we also had hotdogs. Once we were all ready we got our candles and we lit them. They made a lot of smoke and we started to not be able to see. So we made more air holes. That did the trick! At night Josh said he needed to go to the bathroom, as he was getting out he scrapped snow of the roof with his back and got snow down his shirt and onto my sleeping bag. He was cold for the rest of the night and once the snow melted my sleeping bag got wet and I was a little cold to. But we survived .

Overall I had a great time I think for next time I'd probably bring more snacks and I would bring less clothes because I had to many. But I would defiantly do this again!

Dan said...

I had a good time at winter camp despite a few small issues.

First i didn’t have the proper sleeping bag, that issue was quickly resolved by simply putting the two I brought inside one another. The next issue that arose was cooking, I had brought noodles and I needed water to boil them, the way I solved this problem without going inside to get water was to melt snow then boil the noddles in thee left over water. Another problem came into play later on that night, the platform we had built was slightly slanted towards the door, to solve this issue I made a ledge out of snow to rest my feet on while I was sleeping.

Overall winter camp was not a bed experience for me and i would love to do it again.

Matthew Perras said...

Winter camp was a fun and exciting time for me and my group.

Winter camp, I found was fun and surprisingly very educational. We could see what was wrong with are quin-zhee’s this year and improve on them for next year. I found that are platform was slanted and we slid down too much. Next year I’ll be spending more time in the construction of the platform to have a level and complete sleeping area. We did learn though that having a smaller group is great for having more time to tunnel and create a nice area to sit and relax in.

The winter camp was also extremely fun. We got to hang out with everyone from our class for entire night. We got to play games and have a good time. Like sitting around the fire and sharing stories. We also played king of the hill on top of a collapsed quin-zhee.

After all the excitement, it was nice to sit down around the fire. For supper we had noodles and cheese and spider dogs. We shared to have the noodles. We also got to have MC Donald’s after to when Grayson’s dad came. All in all it was a great supper.

Winter camp a great time and I hope that everyone at least gets to have the same amazing experience as I did.

Matthew Perras said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lyndsay Romain said...

I found the winter camp to be fun at times, and not so much at others.

The building of the quinzhee was a lot more work than I thought it would be, even though we were with a group from period one. The first day we were building, it was a bit of a struggle to actually figure out which was our quinzhee, because there were a bunch all together in the area ours was. Luckily, we ended up working on the right one. Because of the location we built ours, there wasn't much snow around so we ended up having to go to the field to get snow. It was taking longer than we had anticipated, so me and other members of my group stayed after school to finish building. It worked out quite well, leaving class time to collect firewood, however the other members of my group (in my class) ended up being tackled by some of our friends and not being able to help as much. I had heard about the importance of having a good cold sink, so during class on Wednesday I made sure that we had one that was good enough.

After school on the actual day of the winter camp, we found out that there was another girl in my class who's group wasn't attending winter camp and her quinzhee wasn't finished, so she was going to stay in our quinzhee. The only problem was, our quinzhee wasn't big enough for six people to sleep in. We ended up finding another quinzhee that was not in use, unfortunately it had not been dug out so my group had to do that. Luckily, some of the guys decided to help us and with good, hard work it was done in no time.

I dug out a fire pit and built a wall around it, and during the class that day I had managed to build a little place to keep all of our firewood, so that night I filled it up while Matt built the fire. Mya had to leave, and the rest of my group except Brianna vanished until dinner, which was pasta and spider dogs made by Erin. The one thing I would change about the menu was to maybe bring a few snacks, though one of my friend's dad brought us all McDonald's. We also didn't have breakfast, so I ended up eating my leftover McFlurry from the night before.

I found I was well prepared throughout the night. I had read peoples reflections from previous winter camps, so I learned from their experiences on what to bring and what not to bring. I was fairly warm all night, and when I woke up I was well rested and prepared to take on the school day, though it was only a half day. In the morning, I heard all of the entertaining stories that I wasn't a part of, since I went to bed around 11.

In conclusion, winter camp was really fun and I would definitely do it again, with minimal changes.

The Real Bacon said...

I was in a group of 4 with Aren, David, Sunchips and I. we started alone but on the second day Copper group join us so we made one Quinzhee for both nights. In my group only Aaren and I sleaped over. So we only hallowed enough for two Aren said we needed more room but it was perfect and warm. We ate Mr. Noodle and Arizone icetea dinner turned out well.

Next time the only thing I would do different is fined fire wood before dark

mark merriman said...

On the night out at winter camp, I have to say I had a really fun time. Although the quinzhee sleeping wasn’t all that fun, just sitting around the camp fire and eating was a really fun time.

I think that I came very prepared for sleeping in the quinzhee. Our group was Cooper, Jake, Mat, Mayville and me but since Jake, Mat, and Mayville “couldn’t” go it was just me and Cooper. Building the quinzhee wasn’t that hard because we had 10 people working on it at a time (We shared it with Danes group) and the whole process of stacking the snow was fast. Then we just had to dig it out and that’s when we learned that it was just going to be me and Coop so we dug it for the two of us but had a huge quinzhee; it was very insulated.

I brought homemade Spaghetti and garlic bread and brownies for snacks and that worked very good, I also brought a good winter sleeping bag that was very warm and layered my clothes correctly. I wouldn’t really change anything on what I brought except maybe some cards and other things to keep us occupied in the shelter.

After about 9:30 we had eaten all our food and sat by the camp fire for a while and the school was about to close, so me and Cooper went inside and got our sleeping bags and insulation pads. Once we got everything settled down we took Mr. Brouwers advice and right away went into our sleeping bags when we brought them out since the heat was still in them. Then after a bit we started to doze off but at times I would wake up and since our quinzhee wasn’t that big I was really close to the wall, the side of me would get really cold and there was water dripping onto me a little. If I did this trip again I would definitely make the quinzhee a little less thick, a little bigger inside and add more holes because since that and our platform was really good too It was very hot inside the quinzhee from me and Coopers body heat and it melted snow onto us.

If I could do this trip again next year I definitely would because it was tons of fun and interesting to sleep in a quinzhee. But I would bring more things to keep us entertained inside the quinzhee like cards and stuff, I would definitely also make the inside of the quinzee a little bit better and more breathable. All in all I had a great time though, thanks to Mr. Brouwer for sleeping out both those nights.

Mark Merriman

KevinZePanda said...

The winter camp this year was a lot more fun than last year's.
I felt that this year we were a lot more prepared with everything.
When building the quinzhee i felt every did a great job. We were about to build two quinzhee’s side by side but in the end we just ended building one giant quinzhee. The only problem with it was that there was no sink hole. We even went to help some people with their quinzhee at one point instead of just standing around because we can’t have too many people inside our quinzhee at once.
I arrived a few hours late because Dylan and I had to help with the Christmas concert but I feel we didn’t miss too much.
During the night we ate Enchiladas with beans and chicken, the meal was a lot more enjoyable than last year’s. During the night I got a good and long sleep of around 20 minutes. It was my choice so it didn’t bother me much. I’m just glad there were people who also stayed up so I had company. I wasn’t that cold this time around because of the fire we kept going. I got a front row seat to a collapsing quinzhee which was pretty interesting. I had two sleeping bags and one was in the quinzhee. I had one around me while we were sitting around the fire. It actually helped someone in the quinzhee because they took that sleeping bag in the middle of the night and was warmer because of it. I think the worst part of trip was at one point trying to help someone during a part of the night and almost freezing to death. I like to help people and I’m glad I did it but it was a struggle because we couldn’t get the sleeping bag out of the bag…. The best part of the trip was spread out, just hanging around outside and talking to people around the quinzhee’s or around the campfire. When morning came and I had accidentally fallen asleep, I went inside to started putting my stuff away. I went back to our quinzhee after my group was awake and helped clean up the last of what we had in our quinzhee and I collected a few shovel’s from other groups when coming back. I would have helped my group with dishes after but I had to go and help with the Christmas concert. I just ate a muffin from the caf. Thankfully the lack of sleep didn’t affect the way we set up and took things down on stage for each performance.
The things I learnt from this trip was mostly during the night when we stayed up. I learnt that even if you don’t need your coat for your sleeping bag you should bring it anyways in case of a change of plans like staying up all night. I also learnt that we should collect a lot more firewood than we think we might need because it is consumed very quickly after a long period of time.
Overall this was an amazing trip and it was a lot better than last year and I would definitely do this again.

KevinZePanda said...

The winter camp this year was a lot more fun than last year's.
I felt that this year we were a lot more prepared with everything.
When building the quinzhee i felt every did a great job. We were about to build two quinzhee’s side by side but in the end we just ended building one giant quinzhee. The only problem with it was that there was no sink hole. We even went to help some people with their quinzhee at one point instead of just standing around because we can’t have too many people inside our quinzhee at once.
I arrived a few hours late because Dylan and I had to help with the Christmas concert but I feel we didn’t miss too much.
During the night we ate Enchiladas with beans and chicken, the meal was a lot more enjoyable than last year’s. During the night I got a good and long sleep of around 20 minutes. It was my choice so it didn’t bother me much. I’m just glad there were people who also stayed up so I had company. I wasn’t that cold this time around because of the fire we kept going. I got a front row seat to a collapsing quinzhee which was pretty interesting. I had two sleeping bags and one was in the quinzhee. I had one around me while we were sitting around the fire. It actually helped someone in the quinzhee because they took that sleeping bag in the middle of the night and was warmer because of it. I think the worst part of trip was at one point trying to help someone during a part of the night and almost freezing to death. I like to help people and I’m glad I did it but it was a struggle because we couldn’t get the sleeping bag out of the bag…. The best part of the trip was spread out, just hanging around outside and talking to people around the quinzhee’s or around the campfire. When morning came and I had accidentally fallen asleep, I went inside to started putting my stuff away. I went back to our quinzhee after my group was awake and helped clean up the last of what we had in our quinzhee and I collected a few shovel’s from other groups when coming back. I would have helped my group with dishes after but I had to go and help with the Christmas concert. I just ate a muffin from the caf. Thankfully the lack of sleep didn’t affect the way we set up and took things down on stage for each performance.
The things I learnt from this trip was mostly during the night when we stayed up. I learnt that even if you don’t need your coat for your sleeping bag you should bring it anyways in case of a change of plans like staying up all night. I also learnt that we should collect a lot more firewood than we think we might need because it is consumed very quickly after a long period of time.
Overall this was an amazing trip and it was a lot better than last year and I would definitely do this again.

Matthew Bell said...

PAD3O Winter Camp Reflection
Our second year back to the winter camp was great and certainly an improvement over the previous year. There isn't much I would have wanted to do differently this time.
To start with, I think we had a great location for our Quinzhee on a little hill just outside the classroom door, as opposed to last year where it was on the complete opposite side of the field, which was very annoying to walk back and forth from the school. This year, if we forgot something it was really quick and easy to get to the school. When it came to piling the snow, our group was fast and efficient, and we got the snow pile done very quickly. This was helped a lot by the recent heavy snow falls. Once the snow mound was built, the digging out effort followed, although it started off a little slowly, but only because forming a safe tunnel was tricky at the very start. A terrible mistake we did last year was making the tunnel far too long, so I applied this lesson to make sure that we were not crawling several meters to get in or out of our Quinzhee. The digging seemed to finish quickly which was nice because it meant that we had the entire evening to relax around our fire.
The dinner that we chose was spaghetti and meatballs, which was a good choice because it tasted great and filled us up, although it did dirty lots of dishes. Also, when we were buying the ingredients we didn't realize we were buying so many noodles and this minor judgement error left us with far more pasta than the four of us could eat. The morning breakfast simply consisted of pouches of quick oatmeal in the classroom and this seemed like an appropriate choice with which to end the camp.
During the evening and night I was actually very comfortable. I chose a variety of good winter cloths for the camp that I could layer and therefore be prepared for any condition. As a result, I was never cold or wet because I also had a change for almost everything. Something I did differently from the previous winter camp was to ensure that the tarp on the floor of our Quinzhee covered my complete sleeping area. This was not the case last year because much of my sleeping bag ended up on the snow floor and got quite wet during the night from my body heat. The trick this time was to keep a good isolation layer, consisting of my self-inflating mattress and the tarp, between the snow and my sleeping bag - this proved to be the trick to keep dry and warm. Also, my sleeping bag was a multi-layered military winter one so it was very warm and relatively comfortable so I had no problems trying to sleep. When everything stays dry, it seems the morning clean up goes quicker as it is easier to pack up personal kit.
My favourite part this year about winter camp was the actual building of the Quinzhee. I just think that its fun to watch it evolve and get bigger. This was especially true because of the speed we built it, as it happened so fast. The worst part of this winter camp was waking up from our cozy Quinzhee and having to go into the cold outside, although that said, it was shockingly refreshing and it does wake you up.
Overall I would definitely say that this year was much more fun only because we knew how to do things and what mistakes to avoid, making the whole event a much more enjoyable experience. Being considerably more organized and efficient this year in building the camp and preparing our sleeping area, allowed us to spend more time cooking dinner and then hanging out around the fire. To me an evening campfire is one of the best parts of camping at any time of year and this one was fun. Overall, it was another great Canadian experience and will be memorable indeed!

Damian H said...

This years wintercamp had its ups and downs but was an overall success and such a great experience compared to last year.

This year I was part of the biggest group consisting of 8 people. The planning and construction of our quinzee was the only thing that abled us to complete it on time for the night and sleep comfortably. With the 8 people we figured work would move much more quickly, and yes it did. Piling the snow was a breeze but with 2 entrances on our quinzee it was much slower digging out the giant pile. To my amaze it seemed that everyone was eager to work and we finished off with a beautiful quinzee and a very comfortable sleep. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to work with, without all the effort I think it would have been a cold sleep.

Even though it wasn’t the biggest or most well planned dinner I found it was much better than the traditional hot dogs over the fire. We had some tasty chicken fajitas so I don’t think anyone was hunger the rest of the night. We just hung out around the fire and had a fun time talking with everyone from other groups to see how their night was going.

It wasn’t really the weather I was hoping for. At the start of construction the weather was cold and windy which left the snow very light and fluffy which is next to impossible to pack down. But with the well constructed quinzee blocking the wind it lead to a surprising comfortable sleep. What we did not expect was the weather to warm up so fast over night. So our light fluffy snow soon started to pack itself and sink. By morning our roof had sunk in about a foot so it wasn’t fun waking up in the morning to put my head in the ceiling and have snow fall over me.

All in all it was another great experience you get to have and I would highly recommend to anyone to give it a try, you will regret nothing. It was another great camp and I can’t wait to see what the future has to offer.

Roshnee Mitchell said...

I had heard a lot of really great things about the winter camping trip from students who had taken the course in the past, and they were right. It was a great experience. I was a little nervous at first, but the trip went really smoothly in the end.
It took a lot of time and effort to actually build our quinzee, but it paid off when we had a nice, warm sleep. The structure of our quinzee was well made, but it wasn’t wide enough in respect to the number of girls we had sleeping in it. It was a bit of a tight squeeze when we tried to sleep so we had a bit of discomfort, but not enough to ruin our night. I plan on taking outdoor ed again next year so I’ll have the chance to correct the mistakes our group made the first time around. Next time I’ll make sure my group builds up our pile extra big so that when we dig it out there will still be a comfortable amount of space. My group brought all of the essential equipment for the night, but we did make a small mistake with our meal. We decided to take the easy way out and walk to subway for dinner instead of embracing the outdoors and making our meal on the camp fire. Lucky for us we still got to enjoy a fire side meal thanks to Mr. Brouwer kindly sharing some of the food made by his alumni students.
In comparison to the first trip of the year, the hiking trip, I think the winter camping went much better. First of all, the cleanup was really quick and went smoothly. Everyone cleaned up after themselves and we weren’t waiting around for anyone this time. On the hiking trip we left a big mess at the campsite with all our garbage, but on this trip the garbage was minimal. On the first trip I learned that it is very important to help out others once you have finished the task at hand. Once our group had finished building our shelter we took to helping other groups put the finishing touches on theirs, ensuring that everyone was ready for the night.
Overall I was happy with the way the trip went. I had already been planning on taking outdoor ed next year, but this trip made it even more appealing to try it all again next year. It was a really fun learning experience.

cooper the machine $$$ said...

Although this was not my first time winter camping, I found that it was a great way to learn more while having a lot of fun.

The group I was in worked very hard in the days leading up to and the day of the camp to ensure we had a stable and comfortable quinzee, this included using lunch hours and after school to work on it. Even though it wasn't massive we still could fit the two members inside the shelter which is all that we needed. Luckily we had no complications with the integrity of our shelter and it kept very warm with a candle burning through the night. The cold sink was very well made along with the platform being over half a foot high. All in all the shelter was very good.

The weather was nice for the night, it was around -20*C which i found to be comfortable as I never over-heated or became too cold. it did snow starting at roughly 8PM and throughout the night, that did cause some trouble but not too much as we had trouble looking for things we had left.

What I enjoyed the most of the most of the entire trip was having a fire with our neighbouring group. It was a great way to bond and meet new friends over conversation and dinner. What I enjoyed the least of the trip was the weird man with his dog, even though he was pretty entertaining it was then difficult to go to sleep since we made up stories about him and how he haunts people at night, obviously silly but for some reason it got me a bit scared for a while. (I got over it) other than that I would have liked more snacks rather than alot of main course food.

Our menu was decent for the campout. We had spaghetti and meat sauce along with garlic bread for dinner, and bacon with hasbrowns for breakfast. for snacks we had beef jerky and chips. The food tasted great and was nice and hot, I do though wish we brought more snacks since we stayed up a bit late and got hungry again. But other than that the food was great.

I Didn't expect the amount of sleep I got, I woke up only once that nice which was a pleasent surprise. I would say that has to do with the new fleece sleeping bag liner I bought from MEC the night before which brought my sleeping bag down to a -23*C bag. I stayed warm during the night and that is what made the night bearable. My clothing choice could have been better seeing as I wore cotton pyjamas under my snow pants while outside, I should have worn some sort of under armour spandex pants. Waking up in the morning was very easy I found, we were able to clean up and pack out in roughly 45 minutes compared to some groups taking over 1 and a half hours.

In the end we had a great time with nice people and lots of laughter, we ate well, slept well, and were ready for the next day of school in the morning. I can't wait for next semester to do it again!

-Cooper McKelvey

Alex Gorbachev said...


Winter camp was an exiting experience, I was looking forward to it a lot. Our group put in a lot of hard work to getting it done on time and I think the quinzhee turned out really good. We were the second group to sleep overnight in our shelter.


This trip was nearly perfected. We went collected a lot of firewood during the day, that would last us half the night until ruffly lasted until 1 o'clock in the morning. Surprisingly this labor was fun, we ran around made jokes, were loud, and entertained ourselves. During the hiking trip in Frontenac Park it was a chore and was stressful but now we were more efficient, we were trying to make it fun and I think that was a key part. We had our fire going quiet well and at points Mr. Brower told us to make it smaller as the flames were going pretty high but that was easy to solve. Furthermore, Mr. Brower stole some of our fire to start his own so technically we lit two fires. It gives more confidence, bragging right and more to laugh about.


Another thing that went well is the clothes and food. I had multiple layers which I rotated around depending on what I was doing, when sitting by the fire I had more layers as I was not moving but when I was collecting wood or when doing other work I removed some so I was able to easily adjust. All though I did have an issue with my gloves to the point were they froze and I could not wear them as they were hard as rock. Thankfully I had a second pair. Learning from the Hiking trip in October to be prepared for anything. Also, something that really hurt me were that my shoes were rock solid in the morning as well when I woke up so I had to run in socks to the fire as fast as possible. Moving on to the food we ate like kings. We had hot dogs, carrots, kebabs, Tom's world famous baked cheese potatoes and some snacks and it was all prepared beautifully over the fire. Though some of my hot dogs fell in and that was rather frustrating as I would have to start over again. It was more than a feast and we all had a joyful mood and we played a bit of music during dinner time as well to get turned up.


Lastly, was our interesting sleeping experience. We had a very roomy, quinzhee so we fit nice and comfortable along with all of our belongings all though here I noticed I could not kneel in the quinzhee like 2 days before, in fact I couldn't sit up straight. Though, I didn't pay much attention to it and proceeded to yelling and laughing more which followed to a beautiful warm sleep. Though in the middle of the night I was waken up by Mahmoud and Daniel talking, I was about to knock them out cold as I needed rest due to me having to get my operation that morning. I heard them complain about how low the ceiling was now and then all of a sudden I feel a hefty load of snow collapse and heard loud thumps. I thought it was the guys pissing me off by dumping a lot of snow on me and in fact it was the quinzhee caving in. I had no pants on and panicked and our teacher just ignored us, not realizing our situation but we had no problem adjusting. I ran to the fire to warm up as I could not wear my boots due to them being frozen solid and as a result couldn't help in the recovery of our stuff so as a result I rested on Tom's feet by the fire, though I just couldn't fall asleep still I tried, but remained restless. The quinzhee falling was only a minor inconvenience and we had no problem adjusting, it was actually fun having it fall on us. We made history.

Mahmoud Hawa said...

When I first heard about the winter amp, I instantly knew it was going to be amazing, and a night worth remembering!

The night started off very fun, and we had an amazing dinner backed up by a great fire pit. For dinner, Alex brought hot dogs, I brought some chicken skewers, and Tom brought these delicious potatoes stuffed with cheese that we cooked on the fire. And most importantly, Daniel’s parents delivered hot chocolate...twice! We did not require any water for cooking so we didn't have to go get it from inside. Afterwards, we played a game where we put a water bottle on the ground and we were hitting it with a stick in the form of a gold club. We were all prepared and aspired to have a great night, and we had reached our expectations...so far.

There were 2 main fire pits that people joined around, and one of them was ours. We had maybe 3 or 4 groups using our fire after dinner, which helped kill time until the morning. We went to bed at around 11 but Tom and I ended up waking up again at around midnight. We found a few people still at the fire and some collecting firewood.

So here's where the story goes bad...After i warmed up at the fire again I was ready to go to back to bed, which was around 4 am. I got in and noticed that Daniel, another one of my group members, 's face was very close to the ceiling. He opened his eyes and had a very surprised reaction, it was pretty funny actually! So once I had gotten myself comfortable, I was talking to Daniel about how it would suck if the quinzhee fell on us, and we just laughed about it for a bit. After a couple of minutes, the talk had died and we decided to hit the sack. Little did we expect, but in a few moments the quinzhee collapsed on us!

I was lying on my front, so I was fine. As for Daniel and Alex, the snow hit them face first so I instantly called out their names to make sure they were fine. They didn't respond but I was pretty confident they would be fine. I got up to find Daniel with a face full of snow and already out of the quinzhee ranting to Tom, and Alex was standing up in his sleeping bag. The funny thing was, Alex had no pants on...he had been naive enough to sleep in his boxers,and he obviously paid for it when he had to put pants full of snow back on. The night wasn't really that cold, but after we were filled with snow, they decided to build on the fire while I fetched all our things from inside the quinzhee.

It was a very cold rest of the night for Daniel and I, because our sleeping bags were full of snow. Alex’s sleeping bag was fine, and Tom had a double sleeping bag, and he even managed to not be in the quinzhee at the time of collapse. Daniel and I waited out the whole night, and I had finally fell asleep about half an hour before the school opened again. By the time the school opened up, Daniel’s dad had brought us more hot chocolate, and a bundle of firewood to.

We all went inside as soon as we could, and that was it for winter camp survival. We had all survived, but just barely. We went down as the first group in CW outdoor ed history to have their quinzhee collapse on them. Thanks again Mr. Brouwer!

Ellen Kinsey said...

This was my second time sleeping in a quinzhee and this time was a much better experience than the first. My group started our quinzhee and we had a slow start but eventually it got to the appropriate size we needed for the four people who were sleeping over. The year before only three of us were staying in the quinzhee and one of the people sharing our quinzhee did not end up sleeping over which made our quinzhee too spacious and therefore too cold. However this year our quinzhee was small but fit all four of in well which kept in the body heat.

On the last day of building we spent our lunch and last two periods building our quinzhee but we dug too far upward and made a hole in the top. We had to place sticks and a tarp over the hole then cover it with snow to create the same insulation. We also made a big wall outside our quinzhee as a wind breaker which made a big difference during the night.

On the night of the winter camp we planned our meal and prepared ahead of time so it went smoothly. We brought sleeping mats, two sleeping bags for additional warmth. We also brought extra clothes to change into for different parts of the night.

We slept well that night as we had a platform and covered the entrance with a mat. However, if I were to change anything about our about our winter experience. I would bring candles to heat up our quinzhee and provide light as it was cold at first.

In the morning when we woke up lots of my things I had brought had fallen down the tunnel and was wet and frozen. However this made us get up easier and pack up. Also, our ceiling had come down a little compared to the night before, this may be due to the hole in the top that we covered with a tarp and snow.

The winter camp was a good experience due to our group being mostly prepared and we had good company.

Liam Meek said...

Winter camp
This was my second winter camp and I would say that this one was much better than my first year by far.

I had another big group of people for my quinzee, eight people in total. When we built our quinzee it had a dividing wall to give it strength and it was like having 2 different quinzees. It took us a lot less time to make and dig out because everyone knew what to do. When it came to the build, the only thing we were missing was a good cold sink but since it wasn’t a cold night it didn't have a huge effect, but it could have. For food, my group was well prepared. We had a meal that included the four food groups, but also some more sugary food to help with energy. My sleep over night was god, but i was a bit unnerved by how much the ceiling dropped during the night. I went from being able to sit up straight to not being able to sit up at all.

Overall I had a great camp, and I am looking forward to next years.

dooda4ful said...

Well I can safely say that my first ever winter camping experience was an eventful one, and is something that won’t be able to forget.

The process of building our quinzhee was much quicker than my group of four originally expected it to be. The reason behind this was thanks to the fact that we were sharing our quinzhee with another group that was going to stay for camp the night before us (a fact that we would later come to regret). Even so, while it took less time than we anticipated, it still took a good four or five days of work until the quinzhee was finally completed. Our quinzhee itself was rather large on the inside, however it’s cold sink was little more than a slope.
The next thing worth discussing was the food my group had decided to bring on the trip. Our meal consisted of hot dogs, chicken shish kabobs, these really crazy potatoes that are comparable to cheese filled potato skins, a nice cup of gingerbread hot chocolate courtesy of my mother, and finally some granola bars for a short but sweet dessert.
The majority of the night itself was spent around the campfire talking with friends. We had collected enough firewood to last us the night, and were readily prepared.

It would have ended there, as my group soon went to bed and was ready to sleep in the quinzhee we had spent days making. You can probably guess that it didn’t end there. Oh no, instead my group was struck with a tragedy that had never occurred before in the history of Mr. Brouwer’s wintercamp.

It happened at around 4 a.m., where the majority of the class finally decided to go to sleep. Our group had decided likewise, and three of us went inside our shelter, the fourth member deciding to stay outside by the fire. No more than two minutes after that decision, our quinzhee gave up on us and collapsed. Yes, you heard right, the quinzhee collapsed, covering the three of us who were sleeping inside with snow. Burrowing our way out, we stared at the sky in disbelief at the wreckage of our former shelter. Our main priority after that was to get warmed up, since three of us were shivering violently.

The rest of the night was spent huddled around the fire as we lamented over our situation, often times leaving to collect more firewood, as our main supply had finally depleted. Eventually, at around 5 a.m., my other group members decided to call it quits and go to sleep, leaving me to tend to the fire for the rest of the night. It was then that my dad suddenly pulled in behind the school, before walking down to our campfire, hot chocolate in one hand and a bag of firewood slung under the other. In no time at all, he handed me and another one of my group members – who had just woken up – a cup of hot chocolate and the bag of firewood, before taking my supplies and leaving.
By then, the school was finally open, and after giving the rest of my group their cups of hot chocolate we ran inside, never so happy to be at school in our lives.

In the end, despite all that had happened, I can safely say that I enjoyed myself, and have learned a great deal from my experience that night. We also became the first group in the history of wintercamp to have their quinzhee collapse on us, and (for the sake of all future wintercampers) hopefully the last!

John M said...

Wintercamp Reflection


This was my second year of wintercamping, and with this year I have only learned to love the process of quinzhee building and sleeping.


Building the quinzhee has always been a positive experience for myself. I have a found a way to love the cold air and repetitive arm strength necessary to stack up a big pile of snow. I always find the bond between group members starting the second you get a little clump together as your base. From this point on, it is a long test of team building exercises. The challenges I find hardest to overcome include making sure the base is symmetrical (not too steep or shallow to the top), and finding snow to add to the pile. My favorite part of building the quinzhee is digging it out. It is a slow and difficult process, which begins really satisfying as you become able to move more and more parts of the body. Although there may only be one person digging the snow out, the other members must still be working to transport the snow out from the quinzhee and back onto the exterior layer. It’s the teamwork requirement I love being a part of.

As the quinzhee is built and the bell at 3:15 rings, it slowly becomes one big challenge to stay warm and dry. By bringing extra mits, socks, and changing clothing after suppertime, I succeeded at this challenge. This was something I learned from experience, after not bringing enough clothes to change into the previous year. Another crucial thing I learned was to not go cheap on the sleeping bag. Last year, I brought a 10$ sleeping bag from Canadian tire and I froze all night long despite my best efforts. This year, I purchased a real lined sleeping bag from MEC, and it kept me dry and warm all night long. As for the activities throughout the night, I huddled around a couple groups’ fires, and ended up heading into the quinzhee relatively early. After exchanging stories and laughs, bedtime this year was quite early; another veteran move knowing there was still a full day of school ahead. My least favorite part of the experience is the waking up and cleaning up. The second I woke up in the morning, all I wanted to do was have a shower and eat something. The only issue was there were a lot of groups, including my own, that had cleaning up to do. Picking up tarps, food wrappers, gloves, hats, socks, you name it! Wintercamp paraphernalia was all over the field. Finally when all was clean (including myself), I felt energized and ready for school. This year’s wintercamp had me feeling like a veteran, because I felt like I contributed well for in the success of the groups, I felt organized, and fought well against mother nature. Wintercamp 2013-2014 was a success.

Jessica Thomas said...

Hearing from people about their past experiences with Wintercamping, I was a little skeptical on whether or not it would be an enjoyable experience. Because sleeping in a pile of snow doesn't exactly seem warm and cozy to someone who has never slept outside during the winter time. Though, I can now say that my experience with the quinzhee was much more enjoyable than it was thought out to be!

Building was definitely a energy-draining experience. We started out pretty slow, but when another group of students in our class decided to change their sleeping arrangements, they decided they would help us out by building ours with us. Having an extra 5 people to help out sure sped up the process and allowed us to finish in time for our winter camp night. In our quinzhee, we had 4 girls including myself. Seeing as how it was our first time in a quinzhee, we weren't too sure on how to judge the size of the quinzhee overall. Thankfully we are all friends so it wasn't too awkward sleeping in a confined space. We found it a little small but the size thankfully didn't ruin how we slept, because my sleep was terrific! However, the benefits of the size was definitely how well it trapped heat. While spending time around the fire, we left little candles in our quinzhee walls to pre-heat it before we went to sleep. That definitely worked out in our favour in terms of warmth and light! Once the candles burnt out, we used a flashlight for light as we squished in and talked for a while before actually sleeping.

We had a look around everyones quinzhee's and fires before settling down at the fire with Mr.Brouwer and the returning ODE students. It was fun to talk as a group and create our own...interesting stories. Once it came time to pack it in for the night, our group was quick to grab all our stuff and organize our sleeping bags. Thankfully, we left our sleeping bags/mats inside until it came time for bed. Otherwise, we would be crawling into wet and cold sleeping bags and would have spent our time warming up. So waiting until the last minute to set up inside our quinzhee was definitely a good idea. Waking up, however, was a little rough. After having a surprisingly enjoyable sleep, getting up and out into the cold wasn't exactly what I wanted to do. Once we had all decided to get up, we collected our sleeping stuff and brought it inside. We changed and got ready and then returned outside. Clean-up was quick and easy and didn't take us much time to pack up and collapse our quinzhee even though it was a little sad to see it go after all our hard work.

The downfall of our experience was for sure menu planning. Not being completely aware of the dinner rules, we thought an easy meal would be Subway which turned out that it was required to have a fire-cooked meal. The next morning, we weren't too sure about breakfast either so we ended up being a little hungry as we didn't have breakfast planned. Next time, we will be sure to plan our meals correctly and to follow the rules and requirements!

Overall, wintercamp was an amazing experience! I would definitely do it again, especially knowing what to do now, from personal experience. Now that we all know the pros and cons, and where we had our strengths and weaknesses, I'm sure we would have an even better time if we were to do it again! Having never done it before , it was a great first run. So next time someone asks me to sleep in the snow in the middle on a Canadian winter, I won't be so quick to judge.

Jessica Thomas said...

Hearing from people about their past experiences with Wintercamping, I was a little skeptical on whether or not it would be an enjoyable experience. Because sleeping in a pile of snow doesn't exactly seem warm and cozy to someone who has never slept outside during the winter time. Though, I can now say that my experience with the quinzhee was much more enjoyable than it was thought out to be!

Building was definitely a energy-draining experience. We started out pretty slow, but when another group of students in our class decided to change their sleeping arrangements, they decided they would help us out by building ours with us. Having an extra 5 people to help out sure sped up the process and allowed us to finish in time for our winter camp night. In our quinzhee, we had 4 girls including myself. Seeing as how it was our first time in a quinzhee, we weren't too sure on how to judge the size of the quinzhee overall. Thankfully we are all friends so it wasn't too awkward sleeping in a confined space. We found it a little small but the size thankfully didn't ruin how we slept, because my sleep was terrific! However, the benefits of the size was definitely how well it trapped heat. While spending time around the fire, we left little candles in our quinzhee walls to pre-heat it before we went to sleep. That definitely worked out in our favour in terms of warmth and light! Once the candles burnt out, we used a flashlight for light as we squished in and talked for a while before actually sleeping.

We had a look around everyones quinzhee's and fires before settling down at the fire with Mr.Brouwer and the returning ODE students. It was fun to talk as a group and create our own...interesting stories. Once it came time to pack it in for the night, our group was quick to grab all our stuff and organize our sleeping bags. Thankfully, we left our sleeping bags/mats inside until it came time for bed. Otherwise, we would be crawling into wet and cold sleeping bags and would have spent our time warming up. So waiting until the last minute to set up inside our quinzhee was definitely a good idea. Waking up, however, was a little rough. After having a surprisingly enjoyable sleep, getting up and out into the cold wasn't exactly what I wanted to do. Once we had all decided to get up, we collected our sleeping stuff and brought it inside. We changed and got ready and then returned outside. Clean-up was quick and easy and didn't take us much time to pack up and collapse our quinzhee even though it was a little sad to see it go after all our hard work.

The downfall of our experience was for sure menu planning. Not being completely aware of the dinner rules, we thought an easy meal would be Subway which turned out that it was required to have a fire-cooked meal. The next morning, we weren't too sure about breakfast either so we ended up being a little hungry as we didn't have breakfast planned. Next time, we will be sure to plan our meals correctly and to follow the rules and requirements!

Overall, wintercamp was an amazing experience! I would definitely do it again, especially knowing what to do now, from personal experience. Now that we all know the pros and cons, and where we had our strengths and weaknesses, I'm sure we would have an even better time if we were to do it again! Having never done it before , it was a great first run. So next time someone asks me to sleep in the snow in the middle on a Canadian winter, I won't be so quick to judge.

Nikos chrisikopoulos said...


WINTER CAMPING REFLECTION

When i first searched up in the internet about the quinzee that we were supposed to sleep in. I got scared. Just having the thought that it might fall on me, made me freeze. What i was about to build with my friend was something I've never done before, and this was my first time making a snow shelter.

My first concern about this big project was the time that we had to finish it. Because it was something new to me, i did not have any idea of how long the process of making one would take. The good thing is that we had fresh snow on the first day and we were very excited to start. First thing we did was to find a good spot to start packing the snow. We began by outlining and stepping on the area that we would pack the snow. Then began throwing snow with force so that it freezes over night. The first three days we were not doing that well because we would keep finding shovel marks of people taking our snow. Me and my partner were getting frustrated and did not think that we would be able to finish it. But we had to go on and not give up. So the fourth day we decided to go hard-core, and picked up the big shovel that carried double the amount of snow then the other ones. Me and Tarek din't even stop to take a brake, we were very serious about getting the project done. The snow mountain had to be taller then as by 30cm. The 30cm would be the thickness of the quinzees wall after we would dig inside it. Overall i had a great time packing the snow, despite the difficulties we had with snow taken off our shelter, and couldn't wait to sleep inside it.

After letting the snow sit and freeze for a day, we were ready for digging. I have to admit, taking out the snow was my favourite part in making the quinzee. But during the digging i was thinking in my head "now it's going to collapse, now it's going to collapse." I don't know why but i had that feeling in the back of my head. Something that i found challenging to make, was the plat-form . Digging out the shelter took less time then what i was expecting, and it turned out to be very strong.

Now onto the food part. I kind of failed it because i had two cheese pies before i fell to sleep and again i did not cook anything, i guess I'm not into cooking a lot. I like ready homemade food, from my moms hands. The night was nice and warm, compared with the first one. I was able to see the stars in the dark sky, being able to see the stars clearly was something was something that i could only do in my cottage in Greece. I tried looking for the big dipper and small dipper, that's something my dad has taught me from his sailing experience. NIght fell and it was time to go to sleep. Me and Tarek were tired and we wanted to wake up early the next morning cause we had a lot of stuff to pack up.

The next morning we were like zombies, people would get out of there quinzees dragging their shoes and cloths inside the school. Me and Tarek got inside the school as fast as possible because it was chilly outside. That might of been the first time that i wanted to get inside the school. One group was telling as how there shelter collapsed on them. According to Mr. Brouwer they are the first ever group to get crashed by their own quinzee.

This experience was great and i will remember it for my whole life. From this project i learned to not give up on something that you really want to accomplish, and to keep trying no matter what the difficulties are. As a matter of fact i liked the quinzee experience so much, that i made my own one in my back yard.

Kelsea McKay♥ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelsea McKay♥ said...

Winter Camp Reflection

This year, my group had our miscalculations and mistakes from our first winter camp in our minds as we built. I enjoyed winter camp last year, but there were many things that I had wished to change.

Firstly, my quinzhee last year so big that we were able to fit almost 20 students in it sitting down. We did not think about how the size of the quinzhee would affect us and we were all very cold during the night. This year, we decided to build a smaller quinzhee. Our quinzhee was pretty small inside, but all 4 of us fit well and we stayed fairly warm that way.

Secondly, last year we did not build a cold sink and a platform in our quinzhee, and we did not have any bags to block the opening. As a result we had a strong winter’s breeze coming into our quinzhee and I was barely able to sleep. This year, we had a longer, uphill tunnel and we had mats and bags to block the entrance. Since we built it this way, we stayed a lot warmer and we enjoyed our night a lot more.

Even though we stayed warm during the night, we encountered issues the day before. While we were digging out the quinzhee, a hole was accidentally made on top of the quinzhee. At first we were ensure if we would be able to safely fix the hole and be able to spend the night, but luckily we had an idea. First of all, we covered the hole with lots of sticks and branches that we found in the forest. Next we covered the stick with a tarp and then covered the tarp with a lot of snow. The hole was completely covered and we could go to bed not worrying about it caving in on us.

After the quinzhee was complete, we were able to enjoy our night. We ate butter chicken that we prepared ahead of time that just had to be heated, with rice that we cooked. The meal was delicious and was a lot more filling than the hot dogs that we had last year. We spent the remainder of the evening around the camp fire, in other people’s quinzhee and even playing in the snow.

All in all, we had a fun and relaxing night that I really enjoyed and I can definitely say that this year’s winter camp was a lot better than last year’s.

Kelsea McKay♥ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jakob Woods said...

For my first time sleeping in a quinzhee, it was actually quite enjoyable.

Our group consisted of 5 people (Me, Derek, Arpad, Brennan and Martin.) Our quinzhee took a lot longer to build with less people, but it fit 3 of us well.

In the future (next year), I will bring a good pot and pan to cook my food over, as the one we got didn't have a handle. I will also remember to make a bigger air vent, because when we woke up, our throats were very dry. Finally, I will bring better boots/waterproof, because my boots became very wet and froze during the night.

Overall, it was a great camp, and with the things I can improve on, I hope to have a better one next year!

Zack Wyonch said...

Winter camp Reflection
3 things I did better than last year
1. Built a better cold sink.
2. Built a better platform.
3. Didn’t forget to plug up the entrance.

2 things I would improve
1. Bring 2 sleeping bags instead of just thinking a -40 will be enough because my dad later told me that it might have some holes in it.
2. Bring candles because the quinzhee would not warm up with only my body heat being the only source.

5 recommendations
1. Don’t go solo unless you have top notch equipment.
2. Make sure you make a really good cold sink.
3. When you’re digging out the quinzhee do regular checks for light by having someone cover the hole.
4. Dig out blocks of snow instead of just loose snow much easier to get the snow out.
5. make sure you have a flat platform even a slight angle may cause you to slip off your mat and have a wet sleeping bag by morning.

Quinzhee analysis
Vision: Have the platform way higher then the cold sink for 1 person it wasn’t exactly how I envisioned it but I was pleased with the outcome.

Experience: It was very hard to stay warm since I could not heat up the quinzhee with my body heat alone.

Improvements: We could have made the quinzhee a bit smaller since it was a little spacious for 1 person.

Next time: Definitely bring an external heat source if I’m going solo again and double check all equipment for damages to it.

Zack Wyonch said...

Winter camp Reflection
3 things I did better than last year
1. Built a better cold sink.
2. Built a better platform.
3. Didn’t forget to plug up the entrance.

2 things I would improve
1. Bring 2 sleeping bags instead of just thinking a -40 will be enough because my dad later told me that it might have some holes in it.
2. Bring candles because the quinzhee would not warm up with only my body heat being the only source.

5 recommendations
1. Don’t go solo unless you have top notch equipment.
2. Make sure you make a really good cold sink.
3. When you’re digging out the quinzhee do regular checks for light by having someone cover the hole.
4. Dig out blocks of snow instead of just loose snow much easier to get the snow out.
5. make sure you have a flat platform even a slight angle may cause you to slip off your mat and have a wet sleeping bag by morning.

Quinzhee analysis
Vision: Have the platform way higher then the cold sink for 1 person it wasn’t exactly how I envisioned it but I was pleased with the outcome.

Experience: It was very hard to stay warm since I could not heat up the quinzhee with my body heat alone.

Improvements: We could have made the quinzhee a bit smaller since it was a little spacious for 1 person.

Next time: Definitely bring an external heat source if I’m going solo again and double check all equipment for damages to it.

Arpad Pihes said...

Winter camp Reflection

This was my first time in a quinzy, and despite the numerous rooky mistakes my group and I made, I enjoyed the experience enough to want to go again.

Just to name a few of our errors, Jacob did not bring enough layers and was cold for most of the night, Martin’s knuckles kept freezing up due to his thin gloves, we made the air hole too high up on the quinsy which became a chimney for the warm air to escape through, and I kept my sweater a two shirts on overnight which made me sweat, then get really cold. Besides all this, we were very prepared food wise, and we also got our fire going quite fast. We brought so much food that we ended up sharing it with the girls next door who didn’t bring any. We also made a wooden frame above the fire to put our gloves and hats on to warm them up.

Next year, I will make sure to listen to Mr.Brouwer and fully undress down to just my boxers and maybe a t-shirt to prevent my body from sweating in the middle of the night. I’ve learned that sweating is one of the worst enemies you have to face in the cold. If you sweat your body gets wet and you quickly start to lose a substantial amount of heat even if you have many warm layers on. This is why it is important to wear multiple thin layers when going into the cold instead of wearing a couple thick ones.

Overall, I think our next winter camp experience will be even better as we learn from our mistakes from the last one.

March 9th, 2014