Braving the Polar Vortex on the Ice of Lake Michigan

Cold temperatures didn't stop one Chicagoan from training

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Photo: Mike Killion

When Chicago resident Patrick Ozner, 28, booked his fourth annual splitboarding trip to Montana, he knew he needed to log some training for the big-mountain days ahead. Chicago isn’t necessarily the best place to train for rugged terrain, especially when there’s a polar vortex with temperatures dropping to minus 50 degrees. But the extra-cold weather wasn’t going to stop Ozner. He strapped in and skied along the shoreline of Lake Michigan.

Photo: Mike Killion

Ozner trekked out in fresh snow at 63rd Street Beach.

Photo: Mike Killion

Exploring the frozen pier at 31st Street Beach, where there was still some open water despite the frigid air. 

Photo: Mike Killion

At 31st Street Beach, the trees ice over from the freezing spray of Lake Michigan.

Photo: Mike Killion

Ozner navigated the channels of 63rd Street Beach, covered in ice-ball formations that were pushed in from Lake Michigan.

Photo: Mike Killion

Next he made his way around Montrose Beach, on the north side of the city, with a view of the skyline.

Photo: Mike Killion

Most Midwesterners were holed up in their homes to wait out the weather, so Ozner had the shoreline to himself. Resting, he took a closer look at the incoming ice on 63rd Street Beach before continuing south along the frozen lake to complete his four-hour training day.