The first big event of Montreal's 375th birthday party kicked off this weekend, with the Barbegazi winter games festival.

Located on the corner of Ste-Catherine Street and Clark Street, the free festival runs from Jan. 6-8, and  Jan.13-15. 

log sawing contest

A woman tries her hand at the festival's log-sawing station. (CBC)

Barbegazi means "frozen beard" (from the French barbe-glacée) and its activities are centered around outdoor sports and challenges, including snowskating, Christmas tree throwing and log sawing.

The city has set aside funds for everything from lights for the Jacques Cartier Bridge to a new downtown skating rink in honour of the anniversary.

The festival even features a full Wipeout-style obstacle course, but with a distinctly Montréalais flair.

Event organizer Micah Desforges says the design of the obstacle course, which includes igloos and a pine tree forest, was inspired by winter culture in Montreal.

"I think it's a key aspect to represent the landmarks of the city because we are the 375th's first event, the Hivernale."

Desforges says that while the challenges are meant to be skill testing, any average "weekend warrior" will be able to come out on top.

The site will also host an after-party for Igloofest on Jan. 14.

With files from Simon Nakonechny