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Ice Break-Up Raffle


The Alta Lake School plans to carry on with a long-standing community tradition of hosting an Ice Break-Up Raffle.

Here’s how it works: they place a 45-gallon drum on the ice at Alta Lake, and people purchase tickets for the privilege of guessing when the drum will fall through the ice and float past Cypress Point in front of the Whistler Hostel.

This year, the winner will get $250 and become immortalized on a new trophy.

The event was started in the 1950’s, with Whistler’s Florence Petersen the first winner of the contest, taking home $21 – half of the total purse – with the other half going to buy equipment for the Alta Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

“It was a chance in the wintertime to get together and contact friends that you usually saw in the summertime,” Petersen recalled. “It was something to knit together the feelings of everybody working toward a project, to get some hoses and axes in that first air shack … it was a reason for people to work together in the community.”

The contest was stopped at some point, only to be resurrected by Whistler local and Waldorf parent, Stephen Vogler, in 2002.

Vogler says he remembered the contest from his childhood and decided to bring it back as a fundraiser for the Alta Lake School.

“We really celebrate the change of the seasons (at the Alta Lake School). That’s a big part of the Waldorf education,” Vogler explained. “This is a way to keep an eye on when the ice breaks up and when spring is on its way. It’s also nice to bring an old tradition back into play, to remind us that Whistler has been around longer than we sometimes think.”

The event kicks off at 3 p.m. on Saturday Feb. 9, with an Ice Break-Up Launch Party at Lakeside Park in Alta Vista. The group plans to cross country ski or hike across the snow and ice to place the barrel on the lake, then return to the park for hot chocolate and coffee.

Raffle tickets are $3 each, or two for $5, and are available for purchase at the Alta Lake School, from parents of students, or at the launch party.

This year, the proceeds from the contest will go towards purchasing street hockey gear.

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