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Deep-freeze fails to stop hardy Winnipeggers from enjoying the great outdoors

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Hardy moviegoers catch a flick on the snow screen at The Forks.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Hardy moviegoers catch a flick on the snow screen at The Forks. Photo Store

Who says it's too cold to play outside?

This weekend, Winnipeggers were diving, climbing, watching films outdoors and racing around in snow despite temperatures that hit a skin-stinging -40 with the wind chill.

On Sunday, hundreds of people put some fun into their winter weekend with Snow Trek, the fifth annual Winter in Motion event outside the Living Prairie Museum on Ness Avenue.

There were snow games and free use of snowshoes and skis, with free instruction for newbies whose sense of adventure was greater than their experience.

On Saturday, 130 people stripped down to swimsuits and all kinds of costumes for an icy plunge into a frigid water tank outside the Indian and Metis Friendship Centre.

"I feel good," said Steven Dreger, spokesman for Special Olympics Manitoba's Polar Plunge who experienced it first-hand. At the time, it felt like -24 with the wind chill.

"It's actually a big adrenaline rush," he said after the event organized by the Law Enforcement Torch Run. And it's a big fundraiser for Special Olympics Manitoba sport programs.

The annual event, nicknamed this year Freezin' for a Reason, raised $37,000, Dreger said. More than 40 volunteers with the Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics put on the event in the North End.

While they plunged into icy water, across town in St. Boniface, members of the Alpine Club of Canada were climbing up ice.

The club held an ice-climbing demonstration Saturday to celebrate their sport being a demonstration event at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.

Next weekend, the volunteer-run club is hosting three days of ice-climbing activities with Festiglace de Saint-Boniface. The event starts Saturday with ice-climbing competitions and runs to Monday, Louis Riel Day, with ice-climbing workshops.

Over on the south side of Winnipeg, close to 500 competitors took part in the Ice Donkey Winter Adventure on Saturday. Participants navigated the frosty, five-kilometre obstacle course at the University of Manitoba's snowy Southwood Lands.

And on Saturday night at The Forks, courageous moviegoers bundled up to watch films projected onto a snow screen, part of the sixth annual Canadian Sport Film Festival. The festival aims to bring unique films from around the world that tell compelling stories of sport, physical activity, dance and play.

Next weekend's weather is expected to warm up to nearly normal temperatures just in time for Festival du Voyageur. It begins Friday, when the daytime high is expected to reach -16 C.

The forecast for Saturday calls for a high of -11 C, close to the normal high for Winnipeg at this time of year of -9 C.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 10, 2014 B1

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Updated on Monday, February 10, 2014 at 7:58 AM CST: Replaces photo

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