6 Things To Do at Silver Skate Festival

Run with zombies, race on snowshoes, and see a blacksmith at work.


February 10, 2016

photography by Marc Chalifoux photography 

With such a wealth of outdoor winter festivals in Edmonton, it can be tough to decide which to go to — and once you’re there, you may find yourself wondering what to do first. The mammoth Silver Skate Festival stretches from February 12 to 21, and we’ve picked out a few particularly interesting events on the packed schedule that you need to check out. 

Participate in the Dead Cold Run

There are many cold weather races in Edmonton — including several at Silver Skate Festival — but why run an ordinary race when you could run a zombie race instead? The Dead Cold Run, which takes place on February 15, allows racers to run for their own survival on a beautiful course.  Register as a “warmblood” and weave around all the undead participants, or channel your inner zombie by registering as a chaser of the warmbloods.

See a blacksmith at work

Chances are most individuals in this century haven’t had many encounters with blacksmiths — that is, until they go to the Heritage Village at Silver Skate Festival. In the village, attendees can watch blacksmiths forge using the same techniques and basic tools as their ancestors. If you’ve always loved historic hardware and wrought iron details, stop by to see how the process unfolds. 

Experience your first Kortebaan race

The Dutch have a traditional speed-skating sprint race, always held on outdoor ice, called the Kortebaan. The Silver Skate Festival has crafted its own version, in which skaters race down a straight 160 metre route on Hawrelak Park Lake, facing off in pairs until the final two skaters compete for the title. In a nod to the traditional prize for Kortebaan races, the winner gets a ham — and an afternoon of exciting competition. 

Strap on snowshoes for a unique race

While the majority of Canadians have likely gone skating or skiing at some point, snowshoeing is a bit of an unconventional form of exercise — but why not jump in and give it a shot in a snowshoe race? The Silver Skate Festival partnered with Snowshoe Canada and Monika Owzcarek, the President of the World Snowshoe Federation and Canadian snowshoe running champion, for the race at this year’s festival. Ease in with a 1 km family run/walk, or tempt your competitive side with the 5 km race.

Admire some frosty art

We’ve all made snowmen, but have you ever created a work of art from an eight foot cube of snow? Well, three teams from Edmonton — as well as teams from France/Germany, Turkey, Switzerland, Mexico and the Netherlands — are doing just that at Silver Skate. The teams’ skilled sculpting will wrap up on February 16, and attendees can peruse the frosty masterpieces in the sculpture garden for the remainder of the festival.

Celebrate the inaugural Everything Under the Rainbow

Many events at the Silver Skate Festival, such as the Folk Trail and Kortebaan races, are returning favourites — however, there’s still room for new events in the festival line-up. This year marks the inaugural Everything Under the Rainbow, an event co-hosted by the Silver Skate Festival, Team Edmonton, and the Pride Centre of Edmonton. Listen to some great music courtesy of DJ Joses Martin, show off your creative side at the rainbow ice wall art installation, warm up with some hot chocolate and s’mores, participate in some athletic pursuits and more.

Hawrelak Park, 9930 Groat Rd., 780-488-1960, silverskatefestival.org

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