Ice Vikings


You weren’t there. There’s no use denying it. I was there and if you had been there, I’d have seen you. Of course, I might not have recognized you in six layers of clothes, a parka with the hood up, a balaclava covering your face except for your eyes. So, maybe you were there. It’s possible.


It was overcast. The kind of overcast that creates a white sky from horizon to horizon. The fan on the weather vane outside my window was turning but not like the wind will sweep you across the lake and you won’t make it home until spring kind of turning.

People wearing so many layers of clothes that they looked like giants or serious in need of a membership in Weight Watchers were walking down to the harbour. You know, the Gimli harbour where the summer sun dances in diamonds across the water, where people lounge in bathing suits and suntans.


My ears led me to the action. There SONY DSCwere snowmobiles racing around, cars racing furiously on an ice track, motorcycles with studded tires speeding over the lake. White mist flew up from them. They trailed clouds of white ice and snow. The cars hurtled past. No casual Saturday drive this. When I say hurtled, I mean hurtled. Now you see them, now you don’t. The teenager in me was delirious with delight.SONY DSC

There were bombardier rides. People piled into bombardiers and out of bombardiers, using hay bales as a step up and step down. The bombardiers were coated with frost. My grandfather used a horse and sleigh. My father used a tractor and caboose. Bombardiers are luxury personified. You get to sit inside out of the wind.

There were frozen chicken curling competitions. The little kids curled with frozen quail, the bigger kids with frozen chickens and the adults with frozen turkeys. The winning teams got to keep the losing teams quails, chickens and turkeys.

There was an Icelandic frozen fish toss.  I thought they’d be tossing hakarl or maybe small whales but the frozen fish they were pitching looked suspiciously like pickerel. Some of the snow mobile riders in their snow mobile outfits looked like they could toss small whales around. They looked like warriors from Star Wars. I was quite envious. I think I drove the first snow mobile in Gimli or close to the first one but I didn’t get to look like that. I just looked like me in a parka. And the snowmobile didn’t go very fast. And it broke down.


There was a puck shot competition, kid’s ice fishing, ice golfing and right now, as I write this, there is a meat draw madness event. And tonight there is going to be a short film shown on a large outdoor screen. On an outdoor screen!. It´s March 2!  I keep waiting for a notice saying they’ll chop a hole in the ice and go nude swimming at midnight. If I’m at the Lakeshore hotel tonight and people suddenly start disrobing and someone yells, “Surfs up!” and everyone bounds over the patio rail and races onto the lake, I’ll know its frolic in the frozen lake time.

Thank goodness my credit union, that is the Noventis Credit Union, put up a big white tent where hot drinks were sold. I sought refuge there.


If I hadn’t been such a wimp, I’d have gone to the Viking Inn last night for the mechanical bull riding.


Of course, there were Vikings and Icelandic flags. Vikings were great travellers. Even so do you think they would ever have imagined themselves flying across the frozen lake in snowmobile outfits, their helmets with horns trailing icicles? Yelling, Ye Ha. Or the equivalent in Icelandic. Personally, I think they’d have loved it. You couldn’t have got them off the snowmobiles, out of the bombardiers, out of the madly racing cars.

Just another day in Gimli. Never a dull moment.

(The reason my article says there was a white sky and it is blue is that after a day of taking photos my memory card collapsed. I lost all the Pix. I had to reformat it. Lost all the photos from day one. Today, day two, it’s warm, blue sky and the photos aren’t nearly as dramatic. Sigh. Photogarphic tragedy.)