The extremely cold weather has been a gift for the people in charge of the The Forks skating trail.

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This article was published 27/12/2017 (1367 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The extremely cold weather has been a gift for the people in charge of the The Forks skating trail.

The first section, the port area right in front of The Forks, was opened Dec. 23.

Brave-hearted Winnipeggers were skating on it on Christmas Day and Boxing Day despite the harsh -40 C wind chill.

This is one of the earliest openings for the trail, said Chelsea Thomson, spokeswoman for The Forks North Portage Partnership.

Now, the portion on Assiniboine River is being prepared for skaters.

"Our hope is that (the Assiniboine portion) is open by Dec. 31," Thomson said.

The trail runs from The Forks to the Osborne Street Bridge.

The warming huts lining the trail will begin to take shape in the new year.

The three winners chosen from nearly 180 entries are Golden Bison, designed by David Alberto Arroyo Tafolla from Morelia, Mexico; Totem, designed by Architecture Office b210 from Tallinn, Estonia; and The Trunk, designed by Camille Bianchi and Ryder Thalheimer of Vancouver.

In addition to the three winners, filmmaker Guy Maddin was invited to submit a hut, called Temple of Lost Things.

Construction of the huts begins in early January and, weather permitting, they will be on the trail by the end of the month. Several favourite huts from previous years will be brought back out, too.

A crew of 10 to 15 people is working on the Assiniboine River part of the trail.

"(It’s) never fun to work in these cold conditions, but our crew is very hearty and will work more to get it open (for the public)," Thomson said.

Right now, the Assiniboine portion is being cleared of snow and flooded to level off the surface for skaters. Once that section is done, the crew will start working on the Red River portion of the trail.

Thomson said The Forks is hoping for the trail to remain open longer than it did last year.

"Last year was one of our shortest seasons because we had such mild weather," she said. "We are hoping this year to get back more to average time (between late February and early March)."