Alpine Igloo

By Alpkit

Ed Leigh driven by a vision of building a Igloo village from which to enjoy a Alpine backcountry touring trip... He takes up his story.

"I am celebrated amongst my family and friends for my ill fated ideas. I own a library of idiotic stories, from cutting the seat belts out of my mums car to use as footstraps on my skateboard to alleviate speed wobble, then dousing the wheels in petrol and daring my brother to shoot me with his airgun during my descent. Right through to hosting an awards ceremony as the Lovebot, an obsolete 70’s sex robot who was made from so much tin foil that the microphone shorted and electrocuted me.

So it was with great joy in 2008 on a trip to Patagonia that I thought I had discovered a kindred spirit in our guide, Ben who proudly announced that he was the owner of an Icebox Igloo maker, he then promptly produced a flimsy plastic box. It sounded and looked ridiculous, but he assured us it guaranteed an impossibly perfect Igloo no matter what the snow conditions.

Unlike my well intentioned but ultimately flawed exploits the Igloo maker proved itself a brilliant idea. Despite poor quality melt freeze snow it created a laughably perfect igloo that slept 4 people with ease in plus 0˚C temperatures while the mercury plummeted outside.

That experience planted a seed with me that took 8 years to germinate. Over the last 6 years I have been a part of other peoples winter camping expeditions to extreme environments Svalbard, Alaska, New Zealand were all epic trips, where I also saw the limitations of tents in freezing environments.

At the same time having been led on so many trips and gathered so much experience I wanted to test my skills by building my own adventure. My dream was to assemble a group of friends for a late season backcountry touring trip. Having based myself in the Swiss Alps for the winter I was able to scope locations and in early March found the perfect spot, a NW facing bowl at 2800m with varied terrain, safe run out zones and a raised flat area for building Igloos.

So who is Ed? Ed Leigh is a journalist and broadcaster who specialises in covering action sports.
Having been born into a sailing family where travel and adventure were compulsory subjects, it was no surprise when he left home at 17 to work seasonally between the ocean and the mountains. A talent for sliding sideways saw him eek out a living as a professional snowboarder for 5 years before a knee injury steered him into journalism. A stint as the Editor of the institution that is White Lines Magazine saw him become the voice of a sport that was being projected into the mainstream. TV work followed and in 2006 he was honoured to bring the snowboarding to life at the Olympics in Turin. He is now one half of BBC2’s Ski Sunday presenting team during the winter and Red Bull TV’s equivalent of Clare Balding the rest of the year. Ed lives with his wife and 2 children in the Swiss Alps and will slip off for an adventure whenever possible, be it 20 minutes or 20 days

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