Saskatchewan·Photos

Drifting Echo Lake at the Fort Winter Drift Festival

On March 9 and 10, cars, trucks and vans took over the shores of Echo Lake for the fourth annual Fort Winter Drift Festival.

'We'll do it as long as they'll keep letting us do it.'

While the Fort Qu'Appelle Winter Festival may not have happened this year, the Fort Winter Drift Festival celebrated it's fourth consecutive event on March 9 and 10. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)

For the fourth year in a row, car lovers made different kinds of waves on Echo Lake, just outside of Fort Qu'Appelle Sask.

While the Fort Winter Drift Festival is normally held alongside the Fort Qu'Appelle Winter Festival, this year things were a little bit different.

Drivers challenged themselves by seeing how close they could come to their counterparts as they raced around the makeshift track on Echo Lake. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)
Drivers would take their friends and other spectators around the track set up on Echo Lake to join in on the fun. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)
Drivers would take time from their laps to help each other out of the snow when they got stuck. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)

"This year, they weren't able to make [the festival] happen, so we decided to keep going with it," Travis Fehler of Prairie Street Performance said.

"Everyone comes out and just has a blast, so might as well keep having the good time for as long as we can."

Snow in rims was a common sight at the Fort Winter Drift Festival, which featured the longest track ever in the history of the event. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)
Nearly every car that drifted during the Fort Winter Drift Festival sustained some kind of damage, from other drivers or from slamming into snow and ice built up on the side of the track. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)
People from all over Saskatchewan gathered in Fort Qu'Appelle to participate in the Fort Winter Drift Festival. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)

Many of those who attended the Fort Winter Drift Festival travel western Canada in the summer months, competing in drifting events.

Fehler said for them, the event is a one-off in the winter months.

Chase Karchewski drove his Chevy truck, which is his daily driver, on the ice during the Fort Winter Drift Festival. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)
Daily drivers, beaters and project cars graced the ice at the Fort Winter Drift Festival. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)
Kolton Ryan piled as many people as he could into this van every time he took to the track during the Fort Winter Drift Festival. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)

Beaters, project cars and daily drivers alike took to the improvised track, which was set up on Echo Lake, just outside the campground outside of Fort Qu'Appelle.

Some of the drivers, like Kolton Ryan, had only just finished working on their rides in the days before the festival.

All kinds of car modifications could be seen at the Fort Winter Drift Festival. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)
Spectators were frequently doused as cars slammed into piles of snow that made for makeshift walls at the event. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)
Drifting on ice is done much slower than it is on pavement according to a number of people who participated in the Fort Winter Drift Festival. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)

Brian Martineau-Simard picked up his car about a year and a half ago. When he got it, it was lacking a transmission.

He was able to find one for a mere $50 and although the car can't go in reverse, it served its purpose well.

Brian Martineau-Simard battered his car by slamming into snow and vehicles alike through the Fort Winter Drift Festival. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)
Cars, trucks and even vans of all makes and models participated in the Fort Winter Drift Festival. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)

"We basically just bring our junk out here and smash it up and have the most fun we can," Chase Karchewski said. "We're having a blast, the best time out here." 

Fehler said he hopes to bring the Fort Winter Drift Festival back for a fifth time. 

"We'll do it as long as they'll keep letting us do it." 

About the Author

Bryan Eneas

Web Writer

Bryan Eneas is a journalist from the Penticton Indian Band currently based in Regina, Saskatchewan. Before joining CBC, he worked in Prince Albert reporting in central and northern Saskatchewan. You can contact him at Bryan.Eneas@cbc.ca.

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