Saturday, January 17, 2009


Bless the sweet baby Jesus! Is it cold here in Canada right now or what!?! Minus 30, Minus 40 -- who cares whether that's Fahrenheit or Celsius, we're talking COLD! And don't even get me started on what that kind of cold does to your life when you factor in wind chills, no-visibility blowing snow and black ice!

Forget trying to start the car. And the dog takes one look outside and curls back in a ball, quite happy to hold it until April.

Is there any other country in the world where you can watch a warning slowly crawl across the bottom of your TV screen letting you know exactly how many minutes it will take to freeze exposed flesh if you venture outside?

And yet -- we love it! Make that more than love -- we wallow in the agony of winter.

Many snowstorms ago, I visited a small dot in the Caribbean that rarely saw tourists let alone Canadian Snowbirds. Bored one Saturday night, we ventured down to the island's only movie theatre, an open air affair parked near the beach. I don't remember what they were showing, mostly because the refreshment stand located right below the screen served awesome banana daiquiris instead of popcorn.

What remains crystal clear through the Captain Morgan haze, however, was a preview for the Charlton Heston version of "Call of the Wild" which featured a snippet of Chuck crashing through what was clearly Styrofoam ice into a Yukon river. The crowd of locals SHRIEKED in terror! We Canadians laughed.

The crowd turned to stare in shock. In truth, we were laughing at how awesomely phony the effect had been. But in their eyes we could see that look -- the look Canadians secretly desire beyond a 'come hither' from Angelina Jolie. An expression that says, "These people have no fear! They laugh at the worst nature can throw at them."

Yeah, that's us -- Winter, bring it on! Just ask anybody in the line at Canadian Tire buying remote car starters and variable temperature butt warmers.

Up here the term we use to describe weather like this is "stupid-cold". I'll let you decide whether the adjective applies to the climate or those who choose to endure it.

Yet, in our perverse desire to get more of those "They are Super-human" looks, we've gone beyond simply surviving the winter to finding ever new and innovative ways of challenging it.

Trust me, put a Canadian in front of a sleeping Polar Bear and he will kick it awake!

We either invented or perfected snow-shoeing, ice-fishing, dog-sled racing, not to mention hockey and the ski-doo. And we'll go down any snowy hill a civilized person descends on skis or a sled with our asses strapped to metal spheres and over-sized inner tubes.

We DEMAND that winter meet us in the street or be forever known as the PUSSY of the Four Seasons.

Have you ever noticed that any time the Winter Olympics debuts a sport, it's usually a Canadian that wins it? Moguls, Aerials, we nail them before anybody else. When Snowboarding arrived at the Nagano Olympics, Canadian Ross Rebagliati snagged the first Gold.

A day later, the IOC tried to revoke it because Ross peed a trace of Marijuana into his post race urine sample. And while the media tore at its parka'd breasts and moaned, most Canadians were thinking, "If Ross made that run after blowing a doobie, they oughta give him TWO medals!".

Psst -- Ross, turn the board around, Dude! People might get the wrong impression!

Eventually, the IOC ruled that Rebagliati just had a bad reputation and too many friends, letting him keep the hardware. And Canadians have gone on to perfect new ways of showing winter we're more than its match.

The latest is called "Crashed Ice".

Imagine a two mile, frozen, downhill river. Then add hurtling down that steep sheet of ice on skates and trying to go faster than three other guys racing alongside you. That's "Crashed Ice". Think of it as Bobsledding -- on skates -- with obstacles -- and no metal sled to protect you.

Next week "Crashed Ice" returns to Quebec City, it's most spectacular venue, for the Winter Carnival.

See that! We take the absolutely worst fricken month of the year and label it a Carnival! Yeah, go ahead, Winter, bring on the sleet! We're makin' snow-cones!!!

This year, for the first time there's a Women's division and the whole thing is available Live on TSN (and sports networks elsewhere) -- so some of us don't have to suffer an increase in our Seasonally Affected Disorders by watching the Leafs.

Here's a taste of Crashed Ice! Tighten up your chin-strap. And enjoy your Sunday.

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