Canada's outlandish hair freezing contest offers much-needed laughs
Karla Cripps, CNN • Updated 2nd April 2020
Best Female: Good luck combing that one out. The contest has been around since 2011 and this year's competition received 288 entries. Each winner receives a cash prize of $2,000 as well as free passes to the Takhini Hot Pools.
Courtesy Takhini Hot Pools
(CNN) — During these uncertain times, we'll take the laughs where we can get them.
Which is why this insanely silly series of images of tourists freezing their hair into gravity-defying styles couldn't have come at a better time.
The photos, featured in the above gallery, are the winners of the Hair Freezing Contest at the Takhini Hot Pools, an annual competition In Canada's Yukon territory.
Contestants are awarded in five categories: Best Male, Best Female, Best Group, Nongshim's People's Choice, and Tim Horton's Most Creative. (Names of the winners were not released.)
The winner for each category gets CAD$2,000 in addition to free hot springs passes.
The contest has been around since 2011, steadily gaining popularity over the years as the outlandish images began to get shared globally. This year's contest received 288 entries -- more than double what it got in 2011 -- according to management.
"We like to think that this contest will bring some joy to viewers around the world -- even if just for a few moments," says Andrew Umbrich, owner and operator of Takhini Hot Pools.
How to enter
Got a comb? This creative woman won the "best female" prize.
Courtesy Takhini Hot Pools
Think you can come up with a style that will please the masses? To enter, you need to visit Takhini Hot Pools between December and March, on a day when the temperature is below -20°C (-4°F) -- certainly not rare in those parts.
There are few steps involved in achieving the perfect look. First, dip your head in the hot springs and wet your hair completely. (Freezing your hair won't damage it, they promise.)
Then, allow the cold air to slowly freeze your hair.
Staff advise visitors to keep their ears warm by periodically dipping them into the hot water. And you're going to have to be patient -- all that wet hair will eventually freeze -- eyebrows and eyelashes included.
Finally, once you're happy with your style, ring the bell near the pool entrance and staff will come take the photo.
Located in Canada's far north, bordering the US state of Alaska, Yukon is considered incredibly remote -- even among Canadians -- and known for its stunning scenery.
"The Yukon is Canada's backyard," says Umbrich. "We have all the wilderness, all the animals, all the natural wonders, without all the tension from large populated areas. Come to the Yukon to relax and experience nature, whether its winter with the northern lights or in summer with the midnight sun."
The mineral-rich natural Takhini Hot Pools, in operation for more than 100 years, offer relaxing dips in temps between 36° and 42° Celsius. Umbrich says they're currently building a new hot springs facility that they expect to be complete by the end of this year.
Normally open year-round -- though currently closed due to the global coronavirus pandemic -- it's located 28 kilometers (18 miles) from downtown Whitehorse, Yukon's capital.
The Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport services flights to and from several major Canadian cities including Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.