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Andermatt Swiss Alps

Winter enchantment in an igloo


Just in time for the holidays last December, our igloo in the Andermatt tourist resort opened its doors for the first time this winter. But the road to get there was not an easy one. “The warm temperatures created quite a bit of work for us. But with my construction crew of four helpers, we had the igloo ready for occupancy within six days. That means we handled around 1,000 m3 of artificial snow in 160 man hours”, explains Stefan Birri, igloo builder and Managing Director of Andermatt Adventure. The time-lapse video illustrates the process of igloo construction. “The main challenge is making sure that the igloo former – a sort of balloon – is covered uniformly with snow and thus retains its shape so that the forces will be transferred properly through the arc shape. Once the snow masses have bonded, nothing more can happen.” Only next spring’s sun can cause the igloo to melt. As long as the round shape remains intact in the interior, the igloo cannot collapse.

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But the igloo is not the only fascinating creation to be seen. Stefan Birri took his chainsaw to a 300 kg block of ice to cut out a gigantic crystal. “If it were a natural crystal, it would outshine the large crystals in the Sasso San Gottardo – and it would carry quite some value”, he laughs. To make a crystal of this size, Stefan Birri needs three blocks of ice, each weighing 100 kg. The ice is frozen in a special process that ensures maximum clarity and the fewest air bubbles. The separate parts are “glued together” with water. The giant crystal now adorns the bar in the igloo.

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Viewing the igloo from the outside, you would never guess that the inside diameter is 8 m and the ceiling height about 5.5 m. Mulled wine and gingerbread is offered at the bar every Saturday and Sunday (until February 28) between 3 pm and 5 pm. When you visit, you can also learn the latest about the Andermatt Swiss Alps real estate project. And the knowledgeable staff on site will be glad to open the model apartment and show it to you. “That’s why we built the igloo right next to Apartment House Hirsch, so everything is close by”, explains igloo manager Roman Barmettler.


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