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2014-02-15 at 17:39

Winter tradition

By Matt Vis,
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Fresh snow and below zero temperatures are ideal conditions for a winter carnival.

Fort William Historical Park kicked off their annual Winter Carnival with the opening day on Saturday, and will continue throughout the holiday weekend.

Even though Family Day is on Monday, that didn’t stop parents, childrens and extended relatives from enjoying an afternoon at the park and having a strong start to the weekend.

With such a wide array of activities for all-ages, James Cross said the event is a pleaser for his wife and two daughters.

“The events are really family focused,” Cross said. “The weather has been fantastic."

The Cross family purchased a full weekend pass and plan to spend a good portion of their weekend at the park.

He listed the dog-sled and lumberjack competition as two highlights, with a trip to the David Thompson Observatory planned for either of the two remaining days.

Daughter Emily, 13, said the curling competition was one of her favourite portions of the first day, but is most excited for the snowmobile jumping coming up later in the weekend.

The ample amounts of snow and cold temperatures have given maintenance workers a bit of a break this time around.

“This year we didn’t have to make snow. Normally the maintenance crews have to make snow,” said maintenance and facilities manager Joe Hagdu.

“This year we have an over abundance of snow and the river is frozen solid.”

That frozen river is serving as the highlight of the three-day festivities, with the mountain and ramp that will hold the highly-anticipated snowmobile jumping on Sunday and Monday square in the middle.

In addition to the snowmobile jumping, staff have taken advantage of the frozen Kaministiquia River to construct a nearly one kilometre long ice skating loop.

Hagdu said skaters can be assured ice conditions will be pristine, as they have a zamboni that will provide a fresh flood on Sunday morning.

If the weather gets a little too cold outside, there is no shortage of indoor activities. There are craft shacks, carnival games and other children’s activities as well as the observatory.

Activities run from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on each day of the event with the snowmobile jumping taking place at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

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