When you think of winter activities, what tends to come to mind is skiing, hockey, ice fishing and maybe even curling.
Ice sailing certainly isn’t the most popular or well-known winter sport, but at least one man in southern Alberta is having a boatload of fun beaming around some of the region’s frozen lakes
Frank van den Berg has been sailing for almost his entire life, but living in Alberta means the window to get out on the water is quite slim.
Unless of course, you have an ice boat.
“I’m just so happy that I get to sail again. I never thought that I was going to get to do that in the winter.” said van den Berg.
“I like speed. I like skiing, I used to do bobsleigh and I like to go fast. This one goes fast.”
Earlier this year, van den Berg got his ice boat up to roughly 100 km/h so, he’s certainly not exaggerating.
It’s a niche sport but when he goes out to the lake to go for a spin, he tends to turn a lot of heads.
“People always come up and ask me about it. Things like ‘that must be so fun, you’re crazy, I’ve never seen that’. People want to just talk about it.” said van den Berg.
Although the sport may be new to some, ice boats have actually been around since the 17th century.
They were initially introduced as a means of transport to carry cargo over frozen Dutch canals.
However, the concept didn’t really become a sport until the boats were used on New York State’s Hudson River in 1790.
Since then, the sport has flourished with a number of regattas being held annually in Europe and the U.S.
In southern Alberta, there are just a handful of ice boats that frequent some of the nearby lakes which makes for an exciting surprise for those fishing and playing puck.