As loud music blares and the crowd cheers on, brave individuals of all ages, some in costume, make their way down one of the hills at Ski Martock, attempting to slide their way across a frigid pond.
Most don’t make it, but that’s kind of the point.
Tristan Weigelin, 13 and from Cole Harbour braved the Slush Cup run for his fourth time on March 30, not quite making it across this year, but he’s not giving up yet. He’s planning to make the fifth time the charm.
“Proving I can do it and bragging rights,” Weiglin said when asked why he keeps coming back year after year, while wrapped up in a cozy blanket.
“It’s fun, it’s carefree and everybody has a great time,” he said. “It’s a competition you can do with your friends.”
“It is pretty nerve-wracking coming down and right before you go in, your mind goes blank, all you focus on is getting across,” he added.
Andy MacLean, general manager of Ski Martock, said they extended the watercourse an extra 35 feet, to give the snowboarders and skiers an extra challenge, and also to give the spectators a splashier show.
“It’s really grown, now it’s 135 feet of icy terror,” MacLean said. “People don’t watch the Slush Cup to watch people make it across, they come to watch people not make it across.”
The origins of the event are a bit of mystery, in terms of when it actually started, but it’s been going for over 30 years.
The idea originated as a way to utilize the natural snowmelt near the end of the season, which created a pond at the bottom of the hill, it’s since grown with 75 registered participants and hundreds of onlookers with a festival-like vibe.
“It’s a really nice way to close the season, and to say goodbye to our regular customers,” he said.
Cameron Hartley, owner of the Schoolhouse Brewery in downtown Windsor said they wanted to step up their effort as one of the main sponsors of the event.
“Martock has been a great local business that’s been a great supporter of us, as we’ve been the only beer on tap here,” Hartley said. “And this place is dear to my heart because I’ve been looking at the hill from the windows of the old Schoolhouse (in Falmouth) for years.”
They created a collaboration beer, called Martock Private Lesson, made with the help of Ski Martock Staff and provided live music for the day.
$1 per litre of beer sold will go to Feed Nova Scotia.
Prior to the Slush Cup, Burton held it’s 14th Youth Gone Wild kid’s snowboarding contest, where young snowboarders show off their skills.
“It’s a feel-good event for the kids, free to enter so anyone can participate at any ability level,” Jon Sparkes, marketing manager for Burton Canada said. “Every kid gets to walk away with something, but there’s a little extra for kids who really stepped it up.”
It’s held at the end of the season to let young athletes show off the skills they’ve learned throughout the year.
Barack Davidson, 11, was a first-time participant in the Burton Youth Gone Wild event and was also planning to try out the Slush Cup as well.
He’s been snowboarding for approximately three years.
“It was a lot of fun,” Davidson said of the Youth Gone Wild event before the Slush Cup started. “I just like riding, I like to hit the obstacles and the rails.”
Davidson said he “wasn’t really worried” about falling into the water.
He did, but that's kind of the point.