The Chilly Open: what an experience!

I’m so happy to hear from so many that my love for winter has been embraced, even if only from the photos I have posted online (LOL). A few people commented that they had no idea Minnesota is a Tundra climate, while others say they have enjoyed winter activities from the comfort of a warm home.  Better yet, others have mentioned wanting to join in the fun next year. It all makes me happy and it's a gift to share a slice of our life with you. 

Last July, during what I affectionately call Summer Camp, a friend mentioned she couldn’t imagine a car driving on a lake and that she had never experienced winter.  This is how the concept of a long winter weekend was born. What we didn’t know about, this being our first MN winter in twenty years, was that Wayzata hosts the Chilly Open annually in February.  

This made planning and hosting so easy for us.  A bonus, due to Covid, was that both The Chilly Open and the National Pond Hockey Championships were happening the same weekend.  

Minnesota Winter

Last winter was so cold that I imagine all activities would have been canceled so we were watching the weather forecast closely.  About ten days before the Chilly Open, the weather was looking balmy!  Every day was in the 20's, with one in the 30's.  This was going to make for an amazing outdoor experience. A week before the weekend the forecast started to change due to a cold front passing through.  The two days we had outdoor activities planned were going to be below zero. 

Getting chilly with it

This being our first annual, we kicked off the festivities a day early so we could fit in Goddess Thursday.  Last summer/fall one of my friends and I were talking and decided we wanted to add an icehouse day to the weekend.  With the icehouse sleeping six, I wanted to host this day before the events started. 

Thursday morning, we set out on a morning walk to the Loon's Nest, followed by lunch at The Grocer's Table. It was the loveliest day.  Day one of any long weekend brings its own energy.  

The evening started with pizza and sugar cone smores by the fire before the ladies moved to the icehouse for an overnight stay.  It was a fun experience!  We heard trucks driving by on the ice, had a midnight raid from the guys, and Andrew delivered coffee in the morning.  

National Pond Hockey Championships

Friday was FRIGID and we were heading to the rink to watch day one of the pond hockey tournament.  Check out this Airel photo of the event, this is a major tournament!

The wind was whipping and we bonded over this experience (LOL).  A few us watched two games before moving inside for good. The evening ended with dinner with a larger group of friends.  It was an early night, knowing the big event was the next day.

Chilly Open 

I thought Snowga would be canceled with temps of -9F... how can anyone do yoga when it's this cold out? Three of us bundled up and experienced a once in a lifetime hour on the ice.  We laughed and were amazed by all of it.  We were surprised at how warm it was once we started moving.  

Next up was the big event for the guys.  It was so much fun that we will have a gals team next year!   

In the afternoon some dashed over to watch more pond hockey before getting ready for the evening event.

Vikings and Goddesses

I have been wanting to host a Vikings/Nordic dinner for a few years and the timing felt right. Marcus joined us again to host a wine and song experience for our guests, paired with a Viking inspired meal.  The house was a buzz of energy!  After dinner, we moved outside to the ice bar for an ancient Viking drink and fireworks. 

We were up until 2AM, long after the final guests left. We sat in the kitchen, reminiscing on the evening and weekend with friends.  

It was a magical weekend that ended with one more day.  We snowshoed, and friends arrived to watch the Superbowl before flying home Monday morning.

As I write this, we are daydreaming of warmer days and looking forward to hosting summer camp in July.