An extreme cold warning was issued again for the Red Deer area on Monday. Entertainment in the downtown during the 2019 Canada Winter Games continues despite the cold by using tents. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Red Deer Winter Games activities continue despite extreme cold

Dome tents have been used for downtown entertainment

Winter games athletes and spectators have had to endure more bone-numbing temperatures.

An extreme cold warning was issued for the Red Deer area again on Monday.

Environment Canada said an Arctic air mass with clear skies was producing extreme cold windchills through most of Alberta.

Canada Winter Games organizers have taken colder-than-normal temperatures in stride and say conditions have had minimal impact on events.

“We’ve not cancelled any events, nor have we had any major delays from a sport execution point of view,” said Scott Robinson, CEO for the 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society, on Monday.

“The changes we’ve made have been pretty minor. We’ve just had to adjust schedules from morning until a little bit later in the day.”

He noted many sports are held indoors, but said even outdoor sports have drawn large crowds.

“I was out at the biathlon on one of the coldest days, and there was still 300, 400 people out there, so I think people realize this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

“If they have any interest in that sport, or are curious about, you can’t wait necessarily for the weather. You bundle up and get out there.”

Overnight into Tuesday morning, some regions will experience windchill values near -40 C again. Relief from cold temperatures is expected by Wednesday afternoon.

The windchill Tuesday morning is expected to be -41 C, and by the afternoon, it will reach -21 C. The temperature is forecast to reach a high of -15 during the day, with a low of -21 at night.

Wednesday looks better with a daytime high of -8 and an overnight time low of -17.

Thursday could reach a high of -10 and a low of -23.

Temperatures start to dip again Friday and Saturday.

Robinson said some adjustments have been required to keep entertainers and spectators warm at Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza. Performers booked for the outdoor community stage have moved into Canada House, a tent that can fit a couple hundred people.

He said the large dome fits about 2,000 people where headline musicians play.

“It’s been full almost every night. We even had a good crowd for the symphony last night, about 700 or 800 we figure. It’s really been a great decision we made to bring in something like that so we could have that high-level talent as part of our festival and ensure that they can play and people can watch, no matter what the weather conditions.”

Several smaller, sponsored tents are also set up for people who want to warm up.

“We probably haven’t had the numbers downtown that we thought we would, partly due to the cold weather. It’s just cold to walk around, although we have had certainly lots of people coming through and we hope to have more in the next few days.”

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