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Weather has been great for Nipigon Ice Fest

The annual ice climbing event, which has been held since 1986, will take place on Saturday, March 2.

NIPIGON – After a few anxious weeks, Mother Nature has cooperated for ice climbing connoisseurs.

Thanks to recent colder temperatures, the Nipigon Ice Fest will go ahead as planned on Saturday, March 2.

“It was certainly touch and go for a while,” event director Aric Fishman said on Wednesday morning. “We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to run things like we normally do, but over the last week-and-a-half things have drastically improved.

“We’re just excited that we are still going to be able to run the event. It’s been a very weird winter, weather wise, and it’s unfortunate that some other events like the (Sleeping Giant) Loppet were cancelled. So we’re really glad that we’re able to have something where we can bring people together, have a good time and celebrate winter.”

The biggest thing that was needed to make sure this year’s event happened was the thickness of the ice, which was aided by a return to regular winter temperatures.

“When the weather starts to fluctuate, it can do a lot of different things to the ice,” Fishman said.

“Now that we are less than two weeks out, we can see the forecast and pretty well predict what’s going to happen with the ice. It looks like the temperatures are staying below or hovering around zero and the ice is going to keep building up.

“With the ice that we have right now, it’s built up enough already that we are good to go and it’s only going to get better over the next couple of weeks.”

The Nipigon Ice Fest started in 1986 and sees people visiting from across Canada to take part in a celebration of climbing.

The day includes climbing clinics for people of various skill levels and wraps up with an Ice Fest Summit, which features presentations and a raffle for ice climbing gear.

“It’s like a reunion in a way for a lot of us,” Fishman said. “There’s some people who have come to every single Ice Fest since 1986. We have people who are going to be there for the first time and we have everything in between.”

Registration for the climbing clinics and more information on the Nipigon Ice Fest can be found on the event’s website.