There are several winter survival skills that you need to master before heading out into the wilderness, and one of them is knowing how to survive a blizzard. Do you know what to do if you’re stranded during a blizzard or winter storm?
They can be deadly killers, which is why we bring you this advice, which could potentially save your life.
Know how to build shelter in the snow
First things first, if you’re caught in a blizzard you’re going to want shelter from the cold.
Ideally, you can dig into the snow to create a cave, using a slope, bank, or drift that’s at least 6 feet deep. Before you dig the cage, pack down the snow, to make it stronger structurally. If you don’t have any tools handy, use your snowshoes to stomp the snow and pack it in.
Start by digging a tunnel that slopes upwards, then create a hollow for the shelter or cave itself. When you know that temperatures are below freezing, it’s a good idea to pour water to the outside of your structure so you can strengthen your cave. Make sure that the ceiling and walls of your cave are shaped like an arch, which gives it more structural integrity.
Air vents can be added by using a ski pole or a stick, making holes at the top of your shelter. If possible, the entrance needs to be covered with a tarp or rocks, ensuring that fresh air is still able to flow. It’s vital that you have loads of fresh air, as death by carbon monoxide poisoning is a real possibility.
If the conditions are not right for you to build a snow tent, then dig a trench instead, and use a tarp for cover. You won’t be as sheltered as in a snow cave, but it’s still better than being completely exposed to the snow and wind.
Have various ways of building a fire
One of the main ways to survive a blizzard is to stay warm and be found as soon as possible, and a fire is a great way to do both. Don’t make the mistake of not packing various ways to start a fire. Matches are not recommended, as they are useless when they get wet, so flint-and-steel striker kits are your best option.
For tinder, carry material such as tree shavings, separated rope, cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly, or a tinder cloth in a water proof plastic bag.
Know how to find wood that can burn
One of the most problematic things about a blizzard is not actually starting the fire, but maintaining it, as everything will be too wet to keep burning. However, you can find wood dry enough to burn if you know where to look.
They key is looking for dead wood, such as a dead tree, dead tree limbs, or dead tree trunks not on the ground. Using your survival knife, remove the outermost bark layers, as the wood inside should still be dry enough to burn.
Clear a spot in the snow, making sure to dig all the way down to the wet earth, and create a platform using branches. Put your wood on top of the platform, and set your kindling on top of the dry wood, and light your fire.