The forecast for Thursday is - 20 C with flurries, but that won't stop Winnipeggers from gathering for a pickup game of ultimate.

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The forecast for Thursday is - 20 C with flurries, but that won't stop Winnipeggers from gathering for a pickup game of ultimate.

Frisbee fans plan to meet at Assiniboine Park at 1:15 p.m. for the 15th annual Snow Ultimate pickup game, said organizer Lee Ferchoff.

"It doesn’t matter, even if you’ve never played Frisbee before or what your skill level is, we are a really welcoming group," he said Tuesday. "We just want to have a bunch of people out and have fun in the snow."

Ferchoff creates an open Facebook event every year. He said some years it’s just his friends who show up to throw the disc around in the snow, but other years he has met strangers who have gone out after seeing the event online.

There were only three people last year, but Ferchoff said there have been years where as many as 20 people play.

This year, he expects about 15 to 20 people will join him at the field, which is just east of the Assiniboine Park pavilion parking lot.

Ferchoff and his teammates on the "Snuffleupadisc" ultimate team, made up mostly of University of Manitoba students, started the tradition on a field in 2003 as a going-away party for one of their teammates who was leaving Winnipeg to travel the world. In 2004, they moved the event to Assiniboine Park, and it’s been held there since.

Kate Moncaster, an original team member who has attended the event over the years, said "it’s a bit of a bummer," she has to work today.

"It looks like it’s going to be a cold one, so maybe I’m better off working," she said, followed by a chuckle. "I’m joking. I hope they have a good time."

Both Ferchoff and Moncaster said the key is to wear lots of layers, so that once the game gets going, players can shed them.

"It’s just a fun game, so we don’t really play as well as we would on grass. But everyone just wears their snowsuits, their gloves and you just make do the best you can," he said, adding it can be a challenge to run in piles of snow.

This year, 35 people have expressed interest and 12 people are going, according to the event page numbers Wednesday.

"Wherever you go, you can go to an ultimate event and immediately, people speak the same language as you and you have something in common," said Ferchoff.

Ferchoff said the coldest Snow Ultimate was around 2005, when the temperature was - 35 C with the wind chill.

"I (took) a water bottle that year and it froze solid in 10 minutes, so I couldn’t drink anything," he said. "This year it shouldn’t be too bad. It’s going to be cold, but relative to the rest of the days, it’s going to be the warmest day this week."

Moncaster said it’s fun to see her friends, since many of them have moved away from the city, including Ferchoff, and only come back to Winnipeg during the holidays.

"Winnipeg can be terribly cold during the winter, and it looks like this is going to be a terribly cold ultimate game. But once you’re out there, it’s really a lot of fun," she said. "If you can’t beat the winter, you might as well have a bit of fun with it."

maggie.macintosh@freepress.mb.ca

Maggie Macintosh

Maggie Macintosh
Reporter

Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press education reporter comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.

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