FREquently asked questions

about ice canoeing

Most questions can be answered by our recent appearance on Shawtv

What do you wear on your feet?

We wear a modified rugby cleat. We reinforce the bottom with plastic and embed metal spikes for tracton on the ice.

What do you wear for clothing?

We'd wear something similar to a cross country skier or runner would wear for outdoor conditions. Crazy as it sounds we don't wear wet suits.

Have you ever fallen in the water?

Yes, but we try to avoid this.

Is it dangerous?

It can be. There are alot of risk factors when ice canoeing. Having an experinced crew and knowing what to do in an emergency situation minimizes the risks.

When do you practice?

The team starts training early November 2x/week and progress to 3x/week by mid December. We'll start rowing in the tank at the Calgary Canoe Club as well as run stairs and erg. When it gets colder out side and there's enough snow we'll take the boat out on the Bow River on a Saturday or Sunday.

What other teams are in Calgary?

There are no other ice canoe teams in Calgary. We are the only team west of Quebec, besides Team Chicago that competes every other year.

What type of boat do you use?

It is a custom built boat specifically made for ice canoeing. It has a flatter bottom, features like scooter cups built in the sides of the boat and special hand holds.

How do I get on the team?

You will have to try out. Ice canoeing requires fitness, strength, endurance, agility, mental and physical toughness. All of our current team members have multi-diciplinary backgrounds in two or more activities ie. mountain biking, canoeing kayaking, cross country skiing, swimming, trail running and rugby. We're always looking for spares incase someone gets injured or cannot participate in the race.

Where do you race?

In Quebec City during the Quebec Carnival (usually 2nd weekend of February). There is also a circuit of 8 or so races in Quebec, we've also praticipated in the race at Portneuf.

How many team members do you have?

Five - its the minimin we need to make a team.

How long is a race?

Depends on conditions and how well the race plan is executed. Races can take anywhere from half hour to three hours - some teams may not finish if conditions are difficult.

how did the calgary team start ice canoeing?

Team Calgary has been around for 40+ years. Here's a CBC story from the 1985. It all started back in the day with a few firemen and been though a number of transformation since. Currently, we have a misfit crew led by our fearless leader and captain, Barney Mcilhargey, who has been participating in the race for 20+ years. Here's a great article in Impact Magazine: Ice Attack November 2010

Story from the CBC Calgarians at the Quebec Winter Carnival. Broadcast Date: Jan. 22, 1985