I’ve been in survival situations numerous times — usually because of bad luck or sheer stupidity. The two worst ones occurred in winter, and, thankfully, I survived.
Winter is unforgiving in a survival situation. The only advantage is that the snow and ice are delivering you a regular water source that’s typically safe to drink when melted. After that, everything else is worse.
The critical first step is staying warm, building a fire and sustaining it. But there’s a second priority that’s equally important: shelter.
But before you exhaust yourself scrambling to find the branches, boughs and other materials to build a shelter, take the time to look for a natural shelter.
1. Low-growing pines
You may have seen a pine tree with its boughs overloaded with snow. It’s not an inviting sight, but if you spread the boughs and look at the base of the tree you may be surprised to see dry ground around the trunk. This is one of the ways that nature can provide you with an instant shelter that will protect you from the wind and snow.
If you cut away a few low-hanging branches you can build a fire that will provide some heat.