Montreal's Fête des neiges celebrates winter with ice-sculpting, outdoor sports and circus acts

While Montrealers may groan at the thought of more snow in the forecast, it's good news for the organizers of the city's annual winter frolic.

The 37th edition of the Fête des neiges de Montréal will feature a plethora of activities that rely on snow and cold weather — from tubing to skating and ice carving.

The event is taking place at Espace 67 on Île Sainte-Hélène, just a few minutes' walk from Parc Jean-Drapeau Metro station.

"The view of Montreal is absolutely fantastic," said Kaven Gauthier, a spokesperson for the event.

He said new this year is a loop that allows people to skate alongside the river and look out over the St. Lawrence River.

The 300-metre path takes visitors through forest and along the shoreline in a big circle, he said.

Photo by Myriam Baril-Tessier/Fete de neige

Another source of excitement, Gauthier said, is the "big comeback of the tube-sliding lanes."

He said this year there are 16 lanes for tube sliding, an activity he called "absolutely out of this world."

While some of the old mainstays of the winter festival are gone — namely the zipline and dogsled rides — other activities have taken their place.

Along with ice-sculpting demonstrations by Nicolas Godon three times a day, there will also be a brand new circus performance on four stages.

Acrobats from Cirque Éloize will be putting on a show with a theme of mountain climbing twice daily, at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Fete de neiges

Wintry conditions in forecast

The opening weekend of the Fête des neiges will be a wintry one: Montreal will see some snow, with a high of around –13 C. Environment Canada says it will feel like -25 with the wind chill. There will be more snow overnight Saturday, and Sunday will be a little warmer, with a high of –8 C.

Visitors will have to buy a pass to access the site, but it's valid for all eight days of the event, which runs four consecutive weekends, from Jan. 18 to Feb. 9.

According to the festival's website, visitors are allowed to bring their own food onto the site, and food and drink (including beer and mulled wine) will also be available for sale.

Winter enthusiasts are also allowed to bring their own skates and snowshoes, but for tubing, they are required to use the tubes the event organizers provide.