The weather is a big factor in the success of any outdoor sporting event, and this year's Canada Games in Halifax, Nova Scotia are no exception.
Temperature, wind and precipitation can take their toll on everyone involved, from the volunteers to the athletes.
Karen Purcell, volunteer co-ordinator for the games, said a large part of her job is making sure the more than 5000 volunteers are prepared for any weather.
“The weather plays a huge role in everything they do here simply because we are outdoors,” she said.
“We need to make sure our volunteers are well dressed, that they are well fed and hydrated, that they are able to do their job.”
Volunteer Irene Ferguson said she sometimes questions her sanity when the wind roars through the stadium “like a freight train”, but added she has figured out a way to at least keep her feet warm.
“I learned that if you take those rubber mats that some people use as underlay in a sleeping bag ... and put them in your shoes as insoles, it really works quite well!”
The weather also affects athletes' performance, so competitors learn to monitor weather conditions and adapt accordingly.
Jacenta Jones, a biathlete from Prince Edward Island, said temperature determines what kind of wax she uses on her skis before each race.
“The wax tech in the mornings will take the temperature of the snow so he can wax our skis appropriately,” she explained. “If you put too warm of a wax on your skis you are not going to get a very good glide.”
Wind and cold can affect a biathlete's performance in the range. If the athlete starts to shiver, their rifle will start to shiver; they also have to adjust their sights to the wind.
However, the biggest impacts of winter weather are psychological, Jones said.
“If there is a really bitter windchill going into a race, that affects how you think, 'cause you have to think about how cold it is going to be going down the hills, how cold you are going to be out there.”
Jones said her ideal weather for competing is clear, and “not too hot, not too cold.”
Ferguson said no matter what the weather, she's happy to volunteer at the games.
“It's just a fantastic opportunity regardless of how warm or how cold or how wet (it is),” she said. “How else are you going to get this close to this caliber of athlete? You could be looking at future Olympians here.”