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Snow volleyball seeing a “spike” in popularity amid Quebec COVID restrictions

Click to play video: 'Montrealers compete in snow volleyball tournament' Montrealers compete in snow volleyball tournament
WATCH ABOVE: Volleyball may seem like an outdoor summer sport, but some Montrealers play it all year long, even during Quebec's snowy, freezing cold winter. Olivia O'Malley reports – Jan 8, 2022

Hockey, skiing and tobogganing may be the usual activities that come to mind in colder winter months, but recently some Montrealers have been thinking differently. Despite a thick layer of snow on the ground, Parc La Fontaine’s volleyball courts were full Saturday afternoon.

“We believe this is the next winter sport,” said avid player Narcissé Nguyen.

From noon to five p.m. about forty players from seven teams braved the -25 Celsius weather to play snow volleyball.

“We look at each other and we were like, hey, we’re in North America, we have this snow. How come we’re not playing snow volleyball?” said Nguyen who organized the event.

The sport originated in Austria and in recent years its expanded across Europe.

Read more: Rapid spread of Omicron shedding light on social inequities in Canada: experts

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In Quebec, pandemic restrictions are creating a rise in the sport’s popularity.

“We always thought it’s a good idea to play snow volleyball. But people were like, uh, we have indoor league. Why would we go outdoors?” said Nguyen.

Indoor leagues are postponed for the time being, so Nguyen organized the weekly outdoor tournament for the volleyball community.

“It allowed us to see each other outside with the social distancing and security measures and everything, so its fun” said participant Alexandra Rheault.

The event is free and open to all levels Saturday afternoon at Parc La Fontaine for the foreseeable future.

“Its more accessible and it’s a public park, you know, it’s not that far from downtown. Anyone can play,” said attendee Dylan Bielinski-Regan.

Read more: COVID-19: Quebec reports 44 deaths as hospitalizations climb to 2,296

Main things that sets snow volleyball apart from beach or indoor volleyball is a few extra layers, a snow ball and the surface.

“It hurts a little because ice is really harder than sand or a floor, but it allowed us to do something else than sitting at home,” said Rheault.

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Already on its first day, the games are serving Nguyen’s hoped-for purposes.

“We’re here to promote physical health and mental health because people need this,” he told Global News.

He hopes it will continue long after the pandemic.

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