Pond hockey, speed skating, ice races cancelled; Winterfest moved

This year will go down in history for weather which has caused several lake-based events to be curtailed.

This year will go down in history for weather which has caused several lake-based events to be curtailed.

Several weeks ago, Foothills Speed Skating Marathon Association announced cancellation of speed skating marathon events planned for Sylvan Lake.

“The ice on Sylvan Lake is not safe enough to create a speed skate track,” their announcement stated.

They had planned a 50 km race on Feb. 21, 100 km and 5 km events on Feb. 22 and 25 and 10km events on Feb. 23.

The new plan is to hold a one day event at Red Deer’s outdoor speed skating oval at the Golden Circle on Feb. 22. Races of 5, 10 and 25 km. are scheduled, according to their website.

They’re also planning Kortebaan and sled races. Kortebaan is a 160 metre straight skate race while Prix Slee is a race involving wooden sleds with metal rails and sticks with spikes.

Pond hockey cancelled

The sixth annual Sylvan Lake Pond Hockey tournament, scheduled for Feb. 28 to Mar. 2, was cancelled last week by the Town of Sylvan Lake and event planning committees, stated Joanne Gaudet, the town’s communications officer, in a media release issued last Wednesday.

Ron Lebsack, the town’s director of community services, has also “ordered town crews to cease maintenance of the Sylvan Lake ice surfaces and to close the provincial park gate effective immediately”.

The decision was made following a recommendation from Sylvan Lake Fire Department.

“The closure of the provincial park gate inhibits public vehicles from driving on and over an unstable ice surface,” stated Gaudet. “Due to above average snow accumulation and recent warm temperatures, the ice surface on the lake is not of quality or a safe enough depth for town staff or protective services to recommend activity on it.”

Winterfest and Polar Dip

The Polar Dip and other Winterfest activities next Saturday (Feb. 15) have been moved to Centennial Park.

John Eastwood, recreation, parks and culture manager, said Tuesday night, the polar dip is going ahead, despite rumours to the contrary.

They’re looking for a dunk tank in which to conduct the annual fundraiser which could see as many as 50 people plunge into chilly water.

Among other activities planned in Centennial Park are a barbecue, hot chocolate and coffee, warm up tent, sleigh rides, mini golf, hockey shootout, face painting, snow painting, toy mountain, cardboard box sled race and remote control car races.

The day will begin with a pancake breakfast by Lions Club members at their hall on 50A Avenue. A Winterfest movie marathon takes place at the library, there’s a Farmers’ Market at the community centre, chili will be available at the Legion, Railside Bowl is hosting toonie bowl, Best Body Fitness has toonie rock climbing, Sylvan Lake Archives is holding an open house and there’s a free indoor skate at Incline Industries. The evening includes fireworks at 7 p.m. and a dance at the Legion at 8 p.m. (featuring Wise Choice).

On the Family Day holiday Monday, Feb. 17, a free family swim takes place from 1-3 p.m.

Ice race season cancelled

Following others, Second Gear Club has cancelled the complete CMA Alberta ice racing series for the season “due to the extremely poor ice conditions” throughout the province.

That involves motorcycle, sidecar, ATV and side-by-side vehicles racing on oval or straight tracks on the ice.

“We have been having a go with Mother Nature for the past few years with challenging ice conditions, rescheduled dates and locations,” said Rhonda Pechout in the announcement on the club’s Facebook page Jan. 26. “This year, even Lac La Biche is short of ice and having the same issues as other lakes we normally use. The main issue is the bulk of snow that is weighing down depths of ice ranging from 6-14 inches and insulating the ice preventing thickening. Water is being pushed up through holes and shorelines. Ice that exists is either slush or filled with snow.”

They hope to be back in 2015 with a full schedule.