Frigid temperatures and arctic air sent most of the western provinces shivering with wind chills dropping to -55C, forcing ski slopes to close and even keeping rink owners indoors. .
“We play a lot of board games and watch movies,” said Lance Glor, who has an ice rink in his Edmonton backyard for his four children.
” Its pretty hard. Anything less than -20, bringing anyone onto the rink is dangerous.
Environment Canada has said that all of Alberta and most of British Columbia and Saskatchewan, as well as parts of Manitoba and Ontario, are subject to extreme cold warnings.
Wind chill can range from -40 C to -55 C in Edmonton and Calgary, he said.
Many ski slopes in and around Edmonton and Calgary, as well as in the Rocky Mountains, have already been closed for several days due to the extreme cold.
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Paul Klann of the Edmonton Nordic Ski Club said people can still cross-country ski. But even on the city’s popular Nordic trails at Goldbar Park, which is near Klann’s house, the intense cold seems to keep people away.
“On Christmas Day we usually don’t see a lot of people here, but on Boxing Day you start to see a little more, and the numbers are significantly lower,” said Klann, a former member of the team. national biathlon.
“It depends on the level of comfort of each one. I ski in almost all temperatures, really. You just have to dress for it.
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Environment Canada said cold arctic air remains entrenched over western and central Saskatchewan with wind chills of up to -45 ° C.
Arctic exit winds and low temperatures were also forecast for much of British Columbia, with the mercury dipping to near or below -20 ° C, he said. Extreme cold could persist until next week, the agency added.
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The colder temperatures have been a blessing for Iceville, the largest outdoor rink on the Prairies, which is under construction for the second year in a row at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium, which opens at noon on New Years Eve.
Mark Rathwell of the Regina Exhibition Association, which operates the stadium, said there was a freeze-thaw when teams built the rink last year. But this year it’s been cold since they started building it two weeks ago.
Creating an ice rink on a field takes a lot of work because the field is built higher in the middle so that it drains. They have to build up many layers of ice, starting from the outside to the inside, he explained.
“This year the ice makers told us we had ideal conditions,” Rathwell said with a laugh. ” It’s cold. “
Many cities in western Canada have already opened emergency shelters and warming centers for people who cannot stay outside, including Vancouver, where it was -11 on Monday. It’s almost a record for the city, which was set in 1971 when it plunged to -12.8 degrees.
Edmonton officials said Monday they were suspending non-essential snow removal due to the extreme cold, noting it was risky for employees, contractors and their equipment.
Extremely cold temperatures were still en route to the Winnipeg area on Monday, including Oakbank, east of the capital, where Andrew Mead said his two children, ages 5 and 7, were enjoying the curling rink family.
It was still relatively warm -10 there on Monday, but a steep drop was predicted overnight and would continue to decline later in the week when Mead and his family rented an A-frame cabin in Mt. -Riding.
“As long as you’re bundled up and dressed properly, it’s great to be outside in the cold weather,” he said. “We don’t mind at all.”
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