There's no doubt that having the skills to create an effective emergency winter shelter is an essential skill for all winter mountaineers, says Paul Lewis.
The shelters described here shouldn't take long to create so have a practice during your winter journeys. Half an hour's digging before you stop for lunch and at least you'll have somewhere warm to eat that ham panini...
Marking your shelter with crossed trekking poles is a good idea.
I've also dug a simple slot straight into a steep slope, just deep enough/far enough back to sit in. Three of us sat in a line like this with packs in front, it really warmed us up and kept the wind off us until the sun came up
I had every intention of building a snow shelter this christmas but decided that adding a snow shovel to my pack, plus the time and energy for one person to construct a "liveable" shelter wasn't worth it and I'd be better off with my tent. Would you say that was the right choice?