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MC Students build “Echo Base”

February 11, 2011

While almost everyone was staying indoors avoiding the chaotic weather of snow falling one to two inches an hour, high winds, and freezing temperatures, several Monmouth College students decided to attempt the unthinkable.

Both Connor Shields and Dillon Docherty decided to make a snow fort that became popular on campus last week.

They began building the snow fort on Tuesday, Feb. 1, but stopped after the blizzard continued to get worse. The next day they decided to pick up where they had left off.

On Wednesday, Feb. 2, Shields and Docherty recruited friends Megan and Sarah Zaubi. Then Zach Dixon and Joe Florio joined in later to help build the massive snow structure.

The group originally named the structure “Quinzhee,” and then changed it to “Echo Base,” named after the snow base in Star Wars Episode V.

“We found the perfect pile of snow located in between the library and the Winbigler Hall parking lot” said Docherty. “We began by just using our hands and digging a tunnel that was about three feet long. We then used a snow shovel to scoop out the excess snow. When we were finished with the tunnel, we began digging out the main room which could eventually fit 10-12 people comfortably.”

Building this large snow fort wasn’t easy going, but they were up for the task.

Carefully and skillfully crafted, “Echo Base” took quite some time to build. Everyone had started at 1  p.m. and it was not completed until 9 p.m. that night. The workers took breaks to eat, dry their clothes, and have a jam session.

“The main method of building was crawling into the fort and digging snow out by hand, pushing the snow to the entrance, and then having whoever was on the outside shovel the snow aside” explained Connor Shields. “As the fort neared completion, we became worried about the thickness of the walls, so we started measuring the thicknesses with a stick. The thinnest spot was about four inches, but it was still pretty sturdy.”

For the snow fort being as big as it is, the workers said they didn’t encounter a lot of problems.

“We encountered one small problem when we thought we had dug too much on the ceiling, but we managed” said Zach Dixon.

After finishing the snow fort, everyone dwelled in its amenities warmly. They brought in their homework, laptops, and Docherty and Shields even slept in the snow fort on Wednesday night after researching sleeping outside in subzero temperatures.

Monmouth College’s snow fort, “Echo Base” is a spacious winter product from Snowmageddon that adds to the winter wonderland on campus and can be found between the Hewes Library and the Winbigler Hall parking lot.

Contributing Writer

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