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A different kind of team building: build & sleep in your own igloo

Igloo building
Next month (14 & 15 March 2015), an igloo village will spring up on Adelboden’s Engstligenalp, as it does every year, when teams of enthusiastic “builders” from around the world gather to create a masterpiece in the hope of securing one of the top prizes at the Igloo Festival. It’s the perfect opportunity for work colleagues to bond as they build and also provides a great 24 hours of entertainment in the Swiss Alps.

You don’t have to be a professional builder to take part: instruction and equipment are provided, all participants need to have in spades are a fierce work ethic, patience and good humour. Friendly advice is on tap from the experts at the Alpine School in Adelboden, while shovels and snow saws, essential tools of the trade, are supplied. 

The competition starts at 9am on Saturday 14 March and work on the igloo must be complete by 5pm, ready to be judged, with prizes of lift passes, dinner and outdoor gear being awarded for creativity, architectural aesthetic, safety and functionality. Once the serious business is complete, the village comes alive to the sound of sunset drinks, then it’s time for the builders to hunker down in their newly-made homes, before a hearty cooked breakfast in the morning. The setting on Engstligenalp couldn’t be more dramatic – the biggest plateau in the western Swiss Alps provides a panoramic, almost lunar, backdrop to the Festival village.

There are two levels of entry. Teams can opt for self catering and pay CHF89 (approx £58) per person for a lift pass up to Engstligenalp, a welcome pack, instructions, equipment use and a night cap, plus of course the joy of competing, but they must take their own cooking utensils and food with them to make their own meals. Alternatively, teams can select the luxury (read soft) option and pay CHF149 (approx £97) per person for a lift pass up to Engstligenalp, a welcome pack, instructions, equipment use, a night cap and the joy of competing, plus have lunch, dinner and breakfast provided – inside in a warm mountain hut! 
Individual igloo at night; the Igloo Festival village at night

Teams can be any size from one upwards – but be aware that you have to build an igloo that will sleep you all! So if there are 20 colleagues who want to take part, you might want to break up in to four separate teams. If you are interested in taking part in this year’s event, registration closes on 27 February – call +41 33 673 8080 or visit for more information. Or pop it in next year’s diary!

Getting to Adelboden from south-east England is easy with flights from London Southend to Berne (just a 45-minute drive from Adelboden) with Swiss airline Skywork, making even a weekend ski break a distinct possibility. Alternatively, a number of airlines fly from various UK airports to Zurich, from where it’s a 2 hour, 45 minute journey to Adelboden.

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