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'Winter is the fabric of who we are’: Winnipeg businesses, activities bearing the brunt of mild weather

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Winnipeg is known for its cold and snowy winters, but this year, mild weather and stifled snowfall have made it difficult for businesses that need those frigid conditions.

“We had scheduled – maybe some wishful thinking – something really early in December to do a little pop-up for our Winterpeg programming,” said Andres Swanson, the executive director of the Winnipeg Trails Association.

The organization is gearing up for the season with its mobile ski rental service. With barely any snow on the ground so far, it says it plans to fully launch its programming in the new year, on Jan. 6, 2024.

“We’re not going to open sooner than that because if we do we’ll just have our hearts broken,” Swanson said.

Snow removal companies say they are also feeling fury over the lack of flurries.

“We are waiting for some snow,” said Jordan Brown, the owner and president of Whiteout Group Snow Removal. “It’s a seasonal business and it’ll either snow a whole bunch or it won’t at all. And that’s the weather for you.”

Brown said that this time last year, snowbanks were piling up along the sides of the road.

“It was full winter and now I see grass. So it’s kind of sad, especially in the business that I’m in,” he said.

It’s also sad for the people in the province that look forward to wintery Winnipeg weather.

“Some people might think, ‘Oh, it’d be nice if it’s a little bit warmer here,’” Swanson said. “But I think winter is the fabric of who we are as citizens of Winnipeg.”

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, Winnipeg has seen mild weather at this time of the year in the past.

“We’re not reaching record temperatures,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Justin Shaer. “But it’s definitely warmer than what we typically see on average for this time of year.”

Environment Canada says the mild temperatures could stick around for at least a little bit longer, but its not ruling out a White Christmas just yet. The organization said some flurries could be in the forecast soon.

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