By Mike Foster
Winter lovers disappointed by El Niño muscling in on their favourite season can take heart — the 2016 Snow Festival at the University of Ottawa starts next week.
So if you’ve been waiting for a chance to belt out that theme tune from Frozen — “the cold never bothered me anyway” — here are seven quick reasons not to miss the line-up of fun festivities on campus from January 18 to 22.
Skate with Olympic figure skating medallist Joannie Rochette
Joannie Rochette, who inspired many when she won a bronze medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver just days after her mother, Thérèse, had died of a heart attack, will give an inspirational talk on January 21 at noon. Afterwards, at 2 p.m., you can share the ice at the Minto Sports Complex with her.
Rochette also won a silver medal at the 2009 World Figure Skating Championship and is a five-time figure skating national champion.
Win one of four tickets to Igloofest 2016
Put that ugly sweater to good use. Dress up in your best winter threads and have your photo taken at the IglooSwag Photobooth on January 20. Share a photo with the hashtag #NeigeSnow2016 on Instagram and get a chance to win one of four IglooVIP complementary tickets to Montreal’s Igloofest 2016 outdoor DJ party. But be sure to check the Igloofest contest rules.
Test your survival skills in a tipi
Spend the night sleeping under the stars in a tipi on the Social Sciences Building terrace on January 19, 20 or 21. Listen to the on-site storyteller and warm up with hot chocolate and then breakfast in the morning at the new Dining Hall. Be sure to sign up for your tipi night at the Carrefour francophone (UCU 026) first.
Load up on comfort food
Fortify your body to brave the cold at the Winter Comfort Food Festival, featuring good old fashioned food from the region’s restaurants. All that shivering requires calories to burn.
Taffy, taffy, taffy
There’s no better sugar rush than maple taffy, freshly poured onto snow. And it’s all free, on January 18 and January 22, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Sample winter sports for free
If you’re new to snow sports you can try snowshoeing for free in front of Tabaret Hall, every day of the festival between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. And you can try curling, too, on artificial ice at Café Nostalgica.
Free Beavertails and hot chocolate
Last but not least, there will be free Beavertails of course, albeit on a first-come, first-served basis and quantities limited (seriously, some of you must have been living off these last year…) and free hot chocolate, served on January 18, from 11 a.m to 12.30 p.m., at the terrace outside 120 University, courtesy of the Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement.