””

Racing against ice and currents

Every year, thousands of visitors - among them competitive canoeists - flock to the Quebec Winter Carnival in Quebec City, Canada, to enjoy a host of activities, including snow baths, night parades, snow slides and skating.

For the canoeists, the icy Canoe Race on the Saint Lawrence River (above), is the highlight.

Held this year on Sunday, the race saw close to 60 teams in three categories - Elite Men's, Elite Women's and Sports, a category for mixed-gender teams - competing amid powerful currents, great chunks of ice and numbing water.

Another popular activity is the snow bath, where hundreds of people strip down to bathing suits and roll around in the snow.

The origins of the winter celebration go back to the latter half of the 19th century, when the erstwhile French colony organised extravagant parties to mark the coming of the season of Lent. It has since evolved into a true family event and one of the largest winter carnivals in the world. The carnival, now in its 63rd edition, began on Jan 27 and ends next Sunday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2017, with the headline 'Racing against ice and currents'. Print Edition | Subscribe