The Bear the Elements Challenge

Here in the Northern Great Lakes we contend with harsh winter weather, often leaving us without sun for weeks at a time. Whipping winds and blowing snow, ice, darkness, and piercing cold. These extreme conditions and gloom don’t always scream ‘fun’ from the comfort of our homes, and more so encourage days drinking cocoa curled up next to the fireplace. Sound nice right? Yes, but there is magic in taking on such gnarly energy. The beauty and bounty of our backyard playground does not dwindle come winter time. And if we’re lucky, lake effect snow covers our region, coming across the yet-unfrozen lake and dumping powder across the landscape. This phenomenon, often followed by heavy wind creating waves, or a peaceful calm, creates the perfect recipe for the most epic backyard adventure, if you’re hardy enough to Bear the Elements.

The Bear the Elements Challenge was designed to encourage you to embrace the outdoors regardless of the weather conditions, and to push yourself to take to both snow and water in the same day. Are YOU up for the challenge?

Don’t use social media? Good for you! We still so very much encourage your involvement and want to see you Bear the Elements!

Send your challenge entry to [email protected] with the subject “Bear the Elements”.  


Whatever sport you choose, or let the weather decide!

We’re a family of surfers, paddlers, ice-berg jumpers, poler plungers, skiers, snowboarders, xc-skiers, fat-bikers, avid tobogganers…. What about you?

This is an inclusive challenge– you don’t have to be a great surfer, extreme skier or filmmaker to partake in the Bear the Elements Challenge. What brings you alive in the winter time?

Go Surf, cruise the river or explore the lake ice via SUP or kayak. Go kiteboarding, foiling, swimming, or take a polar plunge…

And then, get on the snow! Go skiing or snowboarding, cross-country skiing or sledding, hiking, snowshoeing, fat-biking, ice skating, make a snow angel…

The list doesn’t stop there! Get creative! There is a trick to getting wet in the winter – choose your schedule wisely! Is your window to surf in the AM? Make sure you dry your hair before you go blast down the slopes!


Don’t have the time, resources or just really not into taking on both snow and water in the same day but you did an epic backyard adventure in wild winter conditions? Love it! Let’s see it! 


Be Safe.

Winter on the water is another beast and should not be taken lightly. Please remember to be diligent about safety and good etiquette on the water. Listen to your body and your limitations. Trying to paddle out in the ice, alone, or above your experience level? Go back to shore and wait for another day that is more suited to your expertise. Playing with a buddy is always more fun, especially this time of year. Also, ensure that you’re well prepared with the proper gear to get you out on the water in the winter time. Don’t have warm gear? We’re here to help! Hypothermia is no joke.

And remember, have FUN!