Not cool to be cold

A missed turn on a frigid day could have ended badly

by Thomas Shirtliffe

Rob Vipond, a sledder from The Pas, Manitoba, was snowmobiling near Crossing Bay about 25 years ago, when the logging in the area had just started.

While out with a friend, he was on his way to Moose Lake, but Vipond had missed the intended turn and a little while later he found himself at the Talbot Lake logging camp. Missing that turn proved costly for the two riders, as the temperature was dropping, the sun was setting and they were pretty well out of fuel.

“This was originally supposed to be a day trip to Moose Lake and back,” said Vipond. “That’s only 250 kilometres in total.”

Instead, the two riders were forced to sled back home in the dark after not having made it to Moose Lake. But by then, that was the last of their worries. In full darkness and with the temperature hitting -40 C, Vipond and his friend were able to make it home—and they were cold.

“Fortunately, we had no breakdowns—but unfortunately, we had no handlebar heaters,” said Vipond. “We must have been in some stage of hypothermia by the time we made it home. I guess what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger—or maybe smarter.”

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