Skidding on a frozen lake, a winter pastime that's gaining popularity in Alberta

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Sliding on a frozen lake, a popular winter pastime in Alberta

Indulging in this hobby on ice is “a lot of fun”, says a Calgary resident.

The Ghost Reservoir, about forty kilometers west of Calgary, becomes in winter, when it is frozen, the rallying point for thrill seekers. They meet there either to take part in controlled skid races organized by agencies, or to practice this activity, called drift in English, in complete peace of mind.

The activity consists of drifting your vehicle on a frozen lake, linking turns as quickly as possible, explains Benjamin Laflamme, a native of Quebec and owner of the company Faster Higher.

< p class="e-p">He is one of the initiators of these increasingly popular ice acrobatics sessions on weekends.

He and the other organizers claim that the ice course they have paved is the largest in North America. While they started at the end of 2020 with a small circular track, they are now up to six courses, totaling almost 10 kilometers of track.

Organizers now have six courses totaling nearly 10 kilometers of marked trail at the Ghost Reservoir site near Calgary (files).

Calgary resident Amber Garrett, went there last weekend for the first time. It was her partner, Dan Neesom, who booked 45-minute sessions as a gift to please her.

The one who describes herself as a running and driving, however, hesitated before starting.

I was afraid I wouldn't get much out of it, nor had I seen many women in the many videos [the organizers posted on social media], she says.

Afterwards, she says she found the atmosphere inclusive and encouraging, and underlines the availability of the instructors to clearly explain the technique to adopt to help her get better. improve on the track.

In the end, I was going much faster than expected, actually drifting through a ton of turns,” she gloated. I had a lot of fun. It was so much better than I expected.

William Rappel, videographer for Faster Higher, has done the skid five times since then. the beginning of the year. He says one of the best things about this on-ice hobby is the sense of community.

We find ourselves a bit like members of the same big family, he underlines.

William Rappel also notes that the difference between car racing and drifting is all about style and speed. Racing is all about trying to go around the track as quickly as possible; drifting is a bit more a question of style.

Videographer for Faster Higher, one of the companies organizing ice races, William Rappel underlines the sense of solidarity that prevails in the environment.

The ice track is on a public lake, therefore open to everyone. We see people coming in with just about any type of car, reports Benjamin Laflamme, noting that the range of vehicles ranges from front-wheel-drive cars to snowmobiles.

But there advise beginners not to venture there immediately. Benjamin Laflamme suggests starting by observing seasoned pilots carefully, and then embarking on the course without any haste.

Going too fast too soon could lead to car damage or even an accident, especially since there is no police officer ;the authority on hand to tell you what to do, what not to do, he points out.

With information from Jonathon Sharp

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