Barbegazi: Canada’s coolest winter action sports festival

Posted on February 7th, 2014 by .

barbegazi
It’s unknown whether or not the designers of Montreal’s Olympic Stadium envisioned the architectural marvel, long the site of warm weather sporting action including professional baseball, football and soccer, playing host to snowboarders and skiers. Never mind airborne snowmobiles and chattering chainsaws. But even if they didn’t, organizers of the nascent Barbegazi Festival are making them look like geniuses…

For the second year running, Barbegazi, which bills itself as “Canada’s coolest winter action sports festival,” is putting the Olympic Stadium’s sprawling Esplanade to (brrr… illiant) uses for which it was likely never intended. After drawing more than 4,000 spectators and participants alike for their inaugural edition in 2013, Barbegazi – which runs February 15 and 16 – is back with an even more ambitious agenda.

On tap are high-flying, freestyle snowmobile demos, a lumberjack competition (burly contestants chopping and sawing for forestry gold) and a “snowskate” competition (participants take their snowboards and skis to the Esplanade’s railings and stairs in the same manner as skateboards). Introductory snowskate courses are also being offered. Performing concurrent to all the cold sports – which run each day from noon until 5 pm – are an event-appropriate range of hip-hop/electro/funk DJs. And best of all? Admission is absolutely free.
skating at Olympic Stadium
And for those looking for a little of their own outdoor particip-action, the Esplanade’s Winter Village, also in its second year, is again offering free skating on its outdoor refrigerated skating rink (and yes, while all skating rinks are technically refrigerated, in this case it means it’s usable even during mild weather). Open seven days a week until March 15, operating hours vary from day to day, so be sure to check the schedule here. It’s also worthwhile noting that there are no rental facilities, so please bring your own skates.

And if all that activity has worked up an appetite, the final installment of First Saturdays sees Montreal’s most popular street food trucks (who’s kidding who… they’re all popular) invited to congregate at Jackie Robinson Place, at the main outdoor entrance to the Olympic Stadium, on Saturday, March 1 from noon until 6 pm. Outside of festival season it’s rare to get them all in one place at one time, which may account for the appeal of this once-a-month gathering of the gastronomical clan. Admission is free, and the food itself is reasonably priced.

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THE DETAILS

Barbegazi Festival, February 15-16, 2014

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