Enjoying winter in Minnesota: Pond hockey, kite flying and skiing

On the ice of Lake Nokomis, the testament to how the coldest stretch of the year often gets a warm welcome from hockey players.  

"You can’t beat it. These are the days you look forward to as a hockey player," Sean McGahey said. "There’s a team from California here too, and they love to be out here."

So popular that after 16 years, for the first time, the U.S. Pond Hockey Championship is now two weekends long. 

Nearly 300 creatively named teams, like the "16 Bit Legends" from St. Louis, Missouri, coming to bitter temperatures willingly.  

"We had some zero-degree weather before we left. I was happy we were. Some of our guys were doing sprints outside to get prepared," Brett Gustin said. 

Most didn’t have to look far to find people outdoors everywhere Saturday. The Hiawatha Golf Course was full of cross county skiers, including kids who found a hill and spent more time going up it than down. Nine-year-old Myla told FOX 9 she wasn’t cold, even in the 13-degree temperature. 

Some Minnesota moms loved bringing the kids outside, "We’ve been online learning all week, so it’s nice to be able to let them move! Good for the adults and the kids!" 

Over on Lake Harriet, many gathered for the 20th annual kite flying festival. They faced dueling priorities – get into the wind for the sake of the kites or stay in calmer areas to avoid the windchill.  

"No... we’re all good," one kite flier said. "Running around like this keeps us pretty warm anyway." 

No matter where you were in Minnesota Saturday, it still required about five layers. But it’s just what you do to live through the coldest stretch of winter and still enjoy the outdoors.