Valemount locals John Crowley, Ross Ballard, and Jeremy Mercy-Ross decided to make the most of the recent cold snap by getting in a few practice sessions on their ice-climbing tree. 

Ballard said the frozen tree is made by wrapping a strong tree in snow fencing and putting a hose at the top.

“We just used the jack pine because it’s nice and straight and they’re pretty strong. They have a taproot going down, so that means you’ve got branches going straight down to support the rest of the tree and the weight that’s going on there,” Ballard said.

He said this is the sixth season he and Crowley have constructed an ice climbing tree, which according to Ballard, offers a way to stay closer to home while practicing ice-climbing skills and techniques.

“We needed something to have fun with and it’s really fun to train on that because you can do it in a very safe environment. You’re about 20 feet from the house,” Ballard said, “And it gets you into great shape.”