Slippery slope: Toboggan slide made of ice unveiled at The Forks

WINNIPEG — A made-in-Manitoba attraction opened Thursday near the Manitoba 150 Trails at the Forks — a 250-foot toboggan slide made of ice.

‘The Ice Chute,’ created as part of the celebration for the province’s 150th anniversary, is located at the south end of The Forks, and was designed and created by Sputnik Architecture.

Peter Hargraves, principal for Sputnik Architects Inc., said in a news release he took inspiration for the slide from black and white photos of the 1922 Winnipeg Winter Carnival.

“This is my tribute to that time, to the spirit of fun, thrills, and outdoor appreciation you can clearly see in the images,” he said.

“What better way to embrace winter than through the beautiful, temperamental medium of ice?”

The ice for the slide was harvested from FortWhyte Alive. The base for the Ice Chute is made up of 72 blocks of 11-cm thick ice, the walls are comprised of 72 blocks of 15-cm thick ice, and 11 semi-truckloads full of snow from The Forks was used for the ramp. In total, 45 tons of ice was used for the slide, with the team using chainsaws and other handheld tools to shape it.

“Working with ice is a constantly moving target,” said Hargraves, who worked with expert ice sculptor Luca Roncoroni.

“As the temperature changes, so does the ice. It is a surprisingly fragile material, but I love the challenge of working with it.”

The Ice Chute will stay open as long as the weather is cold.