Bundled in boots and toques, thousands braved the cold for this year’s Waskimo Winter Festival.
“Last year we lucked out for the return of Waskimo. It was 7 C in the sunshine. This year we have – 15 C in the sunshine,” Jim Aho, Waskimo festival producer, said.
Despite chilly weather, there was no shortage of things to do. From events on the ice, or activities off the ice, to help shake off the frosty temperatures.
The fat bike races were a hit this year and a first for the festival, drawing in competitors like a family of three, who were up for some friendly competition.
“It’s kind of like snowshoes for bikes, the fat tires,” Dilyn Lolacher said. “You get more ground and you don’t sink in as much and so it makes it a lot easier to bike with fat tire bikes in the winter.”
“We try to keep the whole family involved in everything that we do, especially biking. The kids love it, we love it and it’s a chance for us to connect,” Brendt Boston said.
As the races got underway, others tried their hand at cricket, a sport typically played only in the summer.
“I think the snow actually makes it more fun because the people are sliding around and they’re falling everywhere,” Prakhar Shrivastava, a member of the Cavaliers Sports & Social Club said.
But it wasn’t enough snow to bring the sled dogs to the event, which was cancelled earlier.
“There’s just not enough snow pack on the ice — if you can imagine — in the middle of February,” Aho said. “It’s just too dangerous for the dogs to be racing on ice.”
With plans to bring them back next year, organizers are calling the event a success.
“Waskimo is really an event by the community for the community and wow it’s really great to see the turnout,” added Aho.
Other activities included a free sleigh ride around Wascana Lake, “outhouse races” and an indoor carnival at the Conexus Arts Centre.