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World's largest naturally-frozen skating trail opens in Winnipeg


Hilary Hagerman, staff writer
January 24, 2012 — Crews were out on Tuesday to clear snow from the world’s longest naturally-frozen skating trail.


Crews clearing the Red River on Tuesday
Crews clearing the Red River on Tuesday

The Assiniboine Credit Union River Trail is located at The Forks historic site, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers in downtown Winnipeg. Crews cleared snow from 3.2 kilometres of the Red River to extend the trail to Churchill Park.

Officials say that everything is on track for people to enjoy the trail, but that they’ve had to make a bit of an adjustment this year because of unseasonably warm temperatures.

“This is the second year that we’ve gone this far down the Red, because the Assiniboine just hasn’t frozen as much as we’d like it to this year – there’s actually still some open water,” says Clare Mackay, Marketing and Communications Coordinator for The Forks.

Unseasonably warm weather pushed the opening back by almost a month
Unseasonably warm weather pushed the opening back by almost a month

“This year we’ve got so much Red River that we can use – and we’re definitely taking advantage of it.”

MacKay says that they are a little behind schedule, but not by much. “This year, because it was so unseasonably warm, we weren’t able to get on the river as quickly as we normally do,” she explained. “The earliest we’ve usually been open is the 30th of December, so we weren’t far behind.”

Luckily, chilly temperatures swept the Prairies last week, helping to freeze some of the river.

“We definitely needed some of that cold weather to get us on the Red River.”

Right now, only 3.2 kilometres of the Red River trail are open – but officials hope they can open part of the Assiniboine trail soon.

In addition to the skating trail, there will also be a walking trail and a cross-country skiing trail.

The Assiniboine Credit Union River Trail was recognized as the longest naturally-frozen skating trail by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2008.

For more information, visit the Assiniboine Credit Union River Trail website.

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