We are heartbroken to make a decision we hoped we would not have to make. We were prepared to put in the extra work despite the conditions and lack of snow. We were ready to keep going and ride out the warmer temps and weather, but we are at a point where we just need to rip off the band aid. We have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2024 Wayzata Chilly Open.
As the organizer of the event, The Greater Wayzata Area Chamber of Commerce, we offer more information on our journey to this decision. We were excited to be moving full steam ahead with the on ice event in our traditional location until yesterday. We measured 13 inches of strong ice which was the good news. And yes, we were aware of the predicted “warm up” the next couple of weeks which was the bad news. But, we were still hopeful that we would maintain ice and continue to monitor. However, yesterday afternoon (1/23/24) a pressure ridge formed at the access to the lake, in front of Wayzata Beach, the area golfers and sponsors use to access the courses. As a result of the ridge forming, 4-6 inches of open water now sits above the ice in that area (see photos below). This is a safety hazard and doesn’t provide a way to get equipment and lighter weight vehicles out on the ice for set-up.
We had an on-ice plan b near the Wayzata Sailing lake access that we pulled together the last couple of weeks as a backup in case anything should happen with our traditional spot at Wayzata Beach. Disappointingly, the Wayzata City Council denied that plan last night so we can no longer pursue it. Additionally in the last 12 hours, we discovered the City of Wayzata’s Lagoon dredging project adjacent to the beach will be pumping water from the lagoons onto the lake near the beach in the next few days with no indication on the volume of water that will settle in the access area.
Recognizing the current obstacles, we connected again today with Hennepin County Water Patrol who issues our permit. We were informed this melt could leave us with about an inch of water over all of the ice by the time of our event, which just doesn’t make for a pleasant experience. They also shared they have not been authorized to bring their own ATV’s out onto the ice yet and doubt they will this year.
We gave it our all with about 8 different scenarios and plans. Some of which would have been a stretch, others that “might” have worked. This has just been a terrible year for winter events. This treasured event is a major fundraiser for the Chamber, so it’s not only a blow to the Chilly Open supporters and participants, but also to our non-profit organization.
A big thank you to the Chilly Open planning committee and our incredible team of volunteers who were ready to sacrifice more time to make this event happen. We are grateful for our sponsors and golfers – many reached out asking how to help and cheered us on. When you’re riding the highs and lows, those small words of encouragement matter.
Please save the date for next year’s Wayzata Chilly Open on February 8, 2025! We will be celebrating our BORN IN ’84 theme – so hold on to your leg warmers and we will see our favorite squad soon.
This week, we will issue refunds to all participants. Please be patient as they process through Eventbrite.
January 17 Update
This cold snap has been the most welcome surprise! Please know this is a fluid situation and we are doing our best to balance the safety of hosting this event with the unpredictable and inconsistent weather conditions. It’s not a question of “are we making ice” it’s a matter of “can we make enough ice to host the event safely”. There are 2,200 participants this year.
Here’s the good news –
With this subzero temps streak, we are making some solid ice. As of January 16, we are measuring 8 inches in Wayzata Bay, and with subzero temps continuing we could make up to a half inch to an inch of growth each day. Meaning, there is a realistic chance we will be able to host the event on ice this year. We have been taking daily ice measurements and working with local authorities to ensure this will be a safe event.
Therefore, our planning committee is proceeding with an on-ice event for February 10, 2024. We will know more by next week. But, we need to grow more ice and will reassess any changes to the plan at that time. Our decision day will be Wednesday, January 24.
We sent out a survey to our ticket holders last week and we had a tremendous response. Thank you for providing important feedback to our questions. Here’s a quick summary and the facts.
- A BYOB event is not possible on land. It’s a state law and the City of Wayzata will not make an exception for a BYOB event on land due to liability/accountability. If we consider an on land event in the future, the Wayzata Area Chamber has a liquor license and would sell beverages at a discounted rate, but the event on land cannot be BYOB. 50% of respondents to this survey question said they would not attend the Chilly Open if the event is not BYOB.
- Almost 80% of you understand we need more time to make the decision whether to move forward or cancel so the majority of you support a later decision date. We appreciate your patience and understanding – and thanks for riding the rollercoaster with us!
Continue to follow our social posts for updates. Any major announcements will be made there.