Armed with snow shovels and determination, Stilesian constructed a military-grade snow fort in the Swing Space courtyard Sunday under the direction of Chris Howell ’13.

Howell, an Eli Whitney student in Stiles who is a former member of the Australian military, said he learned to build strong snow forts as part of his military training.

“It’s one of those things you never have to use, until you do,” he said. “And then it can save your life.”

Students used shovels and plastic recycling bins to create a massive mound of snow, which they then proceeded to dig out. Because of the thickness of the fort’s walls, the fort can bear the weight of several adults standing atop it and is well-insulated inside from the cold, a perfect shelter in the case of a blizzard.

Howell built a smaller fort at the corner of the Swing courtyard yesterday as a demonstration. The sample fort has space for one or two people to lie down inside and its walls are well-suited for sledding.