What do you get when you dump 38 truckloads of snow and ice at the doorstep of Yukon College? A 28-foot-high ice slide that’s fun for all ages.
Marco Paquet, a multimedia student at Yukon College, is the brains behind the structure.
“I have two children (a two-and-a-half year old daughter and a 13-year-old son) and I built them a much smaller one in front of my house,” the Quebec native says. “Then I started seeing the neighborhood children coming over to enjoy it and I thought it was a great way for the kids to have fun and get fresh air.”
But there is another reason why he was determined to build such a large apparatus.
“I lost my 17-month-old son over three years ago and the first two years after he passed have been very hard for me,” he says. “Once I got back up I wanted to start doing a lot of good around me and again, this was a great way to achieve that.”
The slide is a fun take on a professional luge track. If you are not experienced, no worries, the slide is for beginners and it is toboggan-friendly.
Designing the thing was a challenge for Paquet.
“I changed my design a few times, considering the time it would take to build it and the equipment at my disposal – it took a few hours to settle on this design,” he says. “Safety was my first priority and this simple, yet fun design, achieved it.”
The slide is 140-feet long and took more than 80 hours to complete in -40°C weather (that’s including the wind-chill). Assisting Paquet with the construction were Arctic Backhoe, Putt Putt Contractors, Paquet’s son Austin, and five other volunteers.
He says he would build it again.
“This was something I created while I am studying at the college, but I would do it for the city if asked to do so,” Paquet says.
The ice slide is open to the public and can be used at any time. Toboggans and crazy carpets can be used safely, however Paquet warns against use of the saucers.
“I tried a saucer one and I decided it was unsafe as it is too fast and too easy to lose control,” he says.
The slide does have a bend in it, and is on an incline, but there is plenty of room at the bottom of the track to ensure a smooth landing.
“Just knowing this project can bring people/family closer and that it will put a lot of smiles on children’s faces, is my reward,” Paquet says. “Life is short – I have learned that first hand – and every minute spent with our children is the most precious thing we have. If only I could take my son Brennan down the slide.”