By Gordon Lambie
The team behind the Defi Chateau de neige, Quebec’s annual snow fort building challenge, is hoping 2023 will be another banner year despite the unseasonably mild weather and limited building materials the winter has provided so far.
“We’ve had a good start despite the lack of snow,” said Laurence Blais, one of the project managers for the challenge on the provincial level.
The start date for this year’s challenge was Jan. 9, and Blais said that in the time since there have been 84 forts registered across Quebec, as well as 98 community events. “The last week has helped,” she added, noting that the snowfall has picked up in most regions in the middle of the month.
The Defi Chateau de neige dates back to 2011 when when two nurses in the community of Matagami encouraged local families to build snow forts because there were not many winter sport options nearby. The idea proved successful and gradually spread to other regions of Quebec, arriving in the eastern townships in 2019. The challenge is coordinated through a variety of organizations that encourage active living in each participating area, including the preparation of participation prizes for a select few of those who send in their entries.