Photos: Bemidji celebrates water in all its frozen forms


Night ski race in Bemidji
1 The 19th annual Montebello Niteski night cross country ski race featured a 6K course and a 2K kid's tour. Thirty-seven participants between the ages of 7 and 55 took to the course Friday night. 
Morgan Sagedahl wins the women's 6k freestyle.
2 Seventeen-year-old Morgan Sagedahl (1296) won the women's 6K freestyle in 19:09.4 in a tight race with 16-year-old Quinn Schollett (1187) who came in just one second behind her. 
Ryan Rogers takes third in the men's 6k freestyle.
3 Ryan Rogers, 36, of Bemidji won third place in the men's 6K freestyle race. He finished just 31 seconds behind Austin Chatterton, 18. Chatterton of Bemidji won in 15:40.4. 
Curling Bonspiel on the Lake Bemidji
4 Bemidji calls itself the Curling Capital USA so the Curling Bonspiel on the Lake Bemidji is a popular event. Curling returned to the lake in 2013 after more than 80 years, and the event has continued to grow. 
Entry fees support junior curlers.
5 Entry fees to the Bonspiel support the Bemidji Curling Club's junior curlers for equipment costs and travel expenses. 
29 teams registered for the bonspiel.
6 This year, 29 teams registered for the Curling Bonspiel on Lake Bemidji to compete for the Paul Bunyan trophy. 
Sending the stone down the ice
7 A smooth ice surface, a firm grip, a steady hand, a good eye, practice and maybe also some luck are needed to deliver the stone to the target. 
Warm curling stones leave an impression.
8 Temperatures above freezing and sunshine during the day warmed up the curling stones enough to leave an impression on the ice. 
Cutting open a hole for the water plunge
9 Early morning preparation for the BRRRmidji Plunge mean cutting ice blocks roughly 20 inches deep out of the lake to create a pool for the ice water plunge. 
Firefighters move ice blocks out of the way.
10 Trent Edens, left, and Jake Wettscheck of the Bemidji Fire Department push ice blocks below the frozen surface of the lake to make space for the newly-opened pool. While wetsuits help protect the firefighters from the cold water, plungers will not enjoy the same luxury. 
Team Hot Flashes take the plunge.
11 Team Hot Flashes -- Sherry Wyman, left, and Merry Charles -- cool off during the Bemidji Jaycees BRRRmidji Plunge. 
Taking the plunge for a good cause
12 Creativity and bravery meet for a good cause since proceeds from this event benefit Project Lifesafer of Beltrami County, a nonprofit organization that cares for people with cognitive disabilities. 
Waiting their turn
13 Those next in line watch as others take the plunge. With air and water temperatures the same, conditions were much more comfortable than in recent years when icy wind chills challenged everyone. 
Frozen turkey bowling
14 The Bemidji Youth Advisory Commission called for the young and the young-at-heart to try frozen turkey bowling. 
The Hardwater Classic tournament
15 Unusually mild temperatures provided comfortable conditions for the 8th Hardwater Classic ice fishing tournament on Lake Bemidji. This year, the event competed with the Extravaganza in nearby Brainerd, the world's biggest charitable ice fishing contest. The event in Brainerd had been postponed two weeks due to ice safety concerns on Gull Lake. 
Getting set up for the tournament
16 Cody McPhee is one of numerous volunteers for the ice fishing tournament. His job is to get holes augered out for contestants find the best conditions. McPhee and others opened between 400 and 500 holes. 
The field of the Hardwater Classic tournament
17 The field of the Hardwater Classic ice fishing tournament on Lake Bemidji. Organizers were aiming for 500 participants. Entry fees support Winterfest and the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce. 
A tullibee gets sent back to the lake.
18 A tullibee (also known as cisco, or lake herring) got a brief look at Bemidji before it was released back into the lake, since only walleye, perch and northern pike qualify for the competition. 
A minnow awaits its fate.
19 A minnow awaits its fate at the ice fishing competition during Winterfest. The tournament awards more than $20,000 in total prizes. 
Traveling in comfort
20 Some of the youngest Bemidji Winterfest visitors travel in optimum comfort and style.