When I kept and wintered bees in North Dakota within a couple miles of the Great White North, I placed 24 or 26 double deep 125Lb plus hives in a double column facing east and west. These columns were on the east side of the densest caragana or lilac hedge I could find. They were wrapped with insulation and tarpaper with top entrances and reduced bottom boards. I eagerly awaited the snowfalls and prevailing northwesterly wind which buried them deep under the snow. The best of all times were when they were buried under six feet of snow. Since there were no days fit for cleansing flights for three months anyway, they did not need to be able to get out and fly. Come spring when it was getting close to flying weather, I would break the ice crust that surrounded the whole column about 18" out from the hives on top only. Was a sight to see the clouds of bees on the first warm days emitting from a snow bank. Winter losses were almost invariably from the bees having exausted their stores. Mice caused a little damage, but a small matter. Very seldom had bees fouled the nest. But the outside of the boxes and the ice surrounding them on the other hand were pretty brown. I still lost colonies but it worked well enough to produce a lot of honey. If I wouldn't have had tunnel vision and requeened every two years, I might have developed bees that wintered even better. As the saying goes, Too soon old, too late smart.