High on Ice Winter Festival

This year’s High on Ice Festival is happening on Family Day long weekend, February 5–8.

The event attracts internationally renowned ice carvers, but locals can get into the spirit by entering the Community Ice Carving challenge, happening Saturday, February 8.

While the ice carving is the big attraction to the festival, there are many more activities. Is the ice too hard a media for your artistic sensibilities? Then try snow sculpting.

As part of the amateur competition, the City of Fort St. John also hosts the annual “Mayor’s Challenge” where in dignitaries from nearby communities are invited to bring a team to the event to compete for bragging rights. This event will take place in Centennial Park! Tumbler Ridge mayor Don McPherson will be leading a team from Tumbler Ridge.

There are also toboggan and snowshoe races, children’s crafts/activities, sleigh rides, an ice fishing derby, snowmobile rides, the “Laugh your ice off “ comedy show, cross country skiing, Winter Bike Demo, Mukluk Curling Bonspiel, free swimming, free skating, and the always popular ice slides in Centennial Park!

The celebration has something for every age group. Families, adults, youth, children and seniors can all experience the fun. It is one of Fort St. John’s signature events that residents and visitors can enjoy every year. This celebration revolves around the winter season and is an event residents are enthusiastic about, even during sub-zero temperatures!

Local artist Eliza Massey Stanford will be there again this year, with a new display of coloured ice art. Using diluted liquid tempera paint that she pours into forms.

On Friday Night, the Northland Trailblazers will be providing free family snowmobile rides out at Charlie Lake.

On Saturday morning, Pacific Sport will be running a free sledge hockey trial. Sledge hockey is a lot like regular hockey, but on sleds, that allows people without the use of their legs the ability to play hockey. The sport is a part of the Paralympic Winter Games.

This year, the festival is also hosting a Dodgeball Tournament.

There will be free horse drawn sleigh rides at the Toboggan Hill behind North Peace Secondary School. While you’re there, you can participate in the Toboggan and Snowshoe Races.

Out at Links Golf Course on Saturday between 1:00pm-3:00pm, people of all ages can stop by to give cross country skiing a try! Available for adults and children.

At Centenial Park Park on Saturday between 12:00-4:00pm, watch bike riders rip through Centennial Park as part of Ernie’s Sport Experts Winter Fat Bike Demo.

An Ice Fishing Derby will be held at the Mile 54 Boat Launch on Charlie Lake. Registration for this event will occur on site. Don’t forget your fishing license, as you will need it at weigh in time.

Curlers can participate in the Mukluk Bonspiel Tournament. It is a mixed Bonspiel, with teams of four people, either gender. Registration fee is $200. The tournament is running at the Fort St. John Curling Club.

The Lido Theatre will be hosting the “Laugh Your Ice Off” Comedy Show throughout the weekend. This is a 19+ age event.

The Northeast Environmental Action Team will be serving hot soup out at Centennial Park and will take place between 11:00am-3:00pm on Saturday. Bring your own mug. Cost is $2/serving.

And, if the weather is too cold for your sensibilities, you can go for a nice soak in the hot tub at the North Peace Leisure Pool on February 8 between 1:00pm–4:00pm. Free to the public.