When The Weather’s A Beach

Last weekend’s blizzard in the Canadian Arctic inspired a group of friends to tropic like its hot in a short video.

While most sensible Nunavummiut were huddled up inside blankets eating “blizzard chips” last weekend, or watching through frosty windows as the wind and snow ravaged the street signs outside, a group of five friends decided to have a little fun with the first Iqaluit blizzard of the year.

Their short Youtube video called “Beach Blizzard Day!!! How Canadians spend their blizzard days!” was posted online on Sunday, March 8. It shows the group clad in just swimwear, straw hats, flip-flops and Hawaiian button-downs, making a beach day out of an officially declared “blizzard day.”

It was 45 below zero with the windchill and the winds were over 90 km per hour. Businesses and services in the Arctic city were closed due to the bad weather.

Still, they took to “the beach,” which was an icy side of the road near a school playground. There, they laid out their towels and began juxtaposing summer activities with the realities of living in the North. Even cracked open some cold ones.

They did this in the face of Environment Canada issuing a warning stating that being outside could “result in frostbite within minutes.”

The short film opens with a close up of the weather on a phone and a couple cast members being woken up.

Perhaps the funniest part is when one of the actors tries to apply sunscreen to another actor’s back – but the sunscreen appears to freeze up in mid air and squirts wildly with the wind.

The first goofy moment happens when one of the actors appears to be sleeping with his sunglasses and puts them on his face before even exiting the bed.

The next scene involves the group climbing out of their vehicle while dancing to upbeat tropical music. One holds a picnic basket while another has a volleyball in his hands and a towel draped around his neck.

Soon they are tossing back typical beach beverages or trying to sunbathe with a magazine while the wind tries to blow them away.

Perhaps the funniest part is when one of the actors tries to apply sunscreen to another actor’s back – but the sunscreen appears to freeze up in mid air and squirts wildly with the wind. This also happens when an alcoholic beverage is poured at a distance into a martini glass.

However, the most painful moment is when one of the actors puts on goggles and a snorkel… but I will let you see that for yourself.

Behind the scenes and bloopers

The video wasn’t a spur of the moment decision – there was some fore-thought and planning.

Kyle Jones, a dentist, and his partner Hannah Chung, who works at the local airport, came up with the idea of getting silly bikini/swim trunk footage during a blizzard a few years ago. There were technically no official blizzards last year, so it took a while to get the next opportunity to make it happen.

But when last weekend’s blizzard was announced, their friend Isaac Freda encouraged the couple to finally act. They recruited their friend Kevan Nelson to fill out as a cast member and asked another friend, Justin Tambogan, to help bring their vision to life by filming and editing.

“The day of the blizzard we got together as planned, gathered props and put our ideas on a white board,” says Chung. It was as simple as that.

However, the whiteboard didn’t include ways to beat nature. They just had to embrace it.

“We had no tricks to combat the wind – just endurance,” Chung said.

In fact, they originally underestimated the power of the wind on the first take. All their props started to blow away so they had to re-shoot the scene.

They did keep the car running with the heat cranked so they could run inside for warmth in between takes. Yet, no one in the video is shivering. Their smiles are unwavering.

So what did that feel like?

Well, cold. Very, very cold.

“It’s the complete opposite of being in a bikini on a scorching summer day,” Chung said.

“But it was Isaac who made the biggest sacrifice because he had a scene swimming in the snow only in trunks!”

Jones adds, laughing, “Only Isaac Freda swam in the snow. The rest of us were smart enough to not volunteer for that scene.”

After filming, they went back to the couple’s apartment where Chung made the group a toasty “climate-change-friendly” meal of tofu stir fry, rice and vegetables, while Jones made them some hot tea. Justin went right to editing. Then they played video games together.

No cast or crew members were harmed or frostbitten during the creation of the video. It now has over 10,000 views.

And Chung says they would do it all again.

“To entertain our friends? Of course!”