Warming world dampening winter sports in Canada


Montreal, Jan 25 (AFP/APP):Christmas was without snow, then temperatures seesawed throughout January in much of Canada, as the increasing effects of climate change drastically dampen the country's winter sports season.
              January is historically the coldest month of the year, but at Ignace-Bourget Park in Montreal, hockey nets had yet to be installed mid-month.
              Instead, workers took advantage of a rare day when temperatures plunged below freezing to apply a thin layer of water to thicken new ice.
              "I've been working for the city of Montreal for 20 years, and it's really unusual to have ice rinks opening so late," Martin Letendre, wearing a fluorescent orange coat and crampons on his boots, told AFP. 
              With his team, he works day and night to ready rinks for skating. But weeks after the Christmas holidays, most of the city's approximately 250 outdoor ice rinks remained closed to the public.
              "Normally, we aim to open them before Christmas, on December 21 or 22, but this year unfortunately, it is later," he laments.
              The mercury must drop to -4 degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit) or below and hold steady for three consecutive days to achieve a proper thickness of around fifteen centimeters (six inches), Letendre explains.
              "This year, it's been even longer before the cold set in," Charles-Antoine Rondeau told AFP when reporters visited Jarry Park and found its three ice rinks closed.
              "It's unfortunate, it upsets our traditions a little," explained the teacher, nostalgic for skating outings he went on with his family when he was a child.
              "When we see that, we inevitably say that it has a link with global warming, and it's worrying because we can already see the difference now," said Juliette Rougerie, who went jogging because she was unable to go for her usual skate.