We started out by carefully laying out a circle on the ground, and clearing it of snow so that the boundary line would be easy to see. The people working on the project are me (not in this picture), my twin brother Micheal, our sister Anne, and Megan, my girlfriend. (Finder, our dog, is also in the picture, although he didn't help much with the construction. It's one of those things for which you need opposable thumbs)
Here you can see me being "attacked" by Megan just after I finished compacting the first row of bricks. To make very solid snow bricks for long-lasting construction, you scoop up a big pile of snow, then crunch it down with your chest while crunching in with your arms. Michael is picking up one of the bricks.
We built up the wall by having one person hold a brick in place while the others packed snow around it. Notice that the wall is slowly starting to curve in.
Michael is suggesting that we should fill in the wall over the door so that there will be a complete ring around as we slope in more. Otherise, there would be no force opposing the gravity force on the inward-hanging wall near the door. We were carefully to build up evenly all around so no one part of the wall would be hanging out into the middle by itself.
In order to fill in the top, Michael and I had to stand on stools; Anne and Megan passed us up handfuls of snow to build with.
We filled in most of the last bit with a single block carefully made only about six inches thick. Here you can see me with just an arm and my head sticking through the remaining hole, packing around the outside of the last brick. At this stage, you could lean all your weight against the fort with no fear that the wall would break; like an eggshell, the shape of the dome gives it a lot more strength than you would expect.
Michael, Megan and I are all math geeks. Our idea was a perfect hemispherical dome. It was Anne, a more art-oriented person, who suggested adding eyes and fangs to make it a snow monster rather than just an igloo.
The four of us standing outside the completed snow monster.
We could all easily stand up inside; there was probably enough space in there for eight people to sit comfortably. We used the glow of the sun through the roof to figure out what spots were thin and needed more patching.
Because I know that most of you are just here hoping to get a better look at Megan...
I've uploaded some more pictures you might be interested in here.