Amazing Winter Romance
A long time ago in a far off land – well, ok, it was February of last year but with all that has happened since then it seems almost as if it were a lifetime ago – I took my most recent trip. Hard to believe, especially for me, but it's been exactly a year since I last traveled.
Before I proceed, or maybe this is just the start of the story, I have a secret to share with you. I'm a Hallmark Christmas movies addict. There, I said it, I never miss one. Ask any of my friends and they will most certainly back me up on this. In fact, I’ve seen most of them multiple times.
As Christmas and December come to a close, my addiction tends to continue into the new year, eventually slowing down in February and finally ending sometime in March, only to bloom once again like a Christmas poinsettia when November rolls around.
I have to share this with you now because I can't tell you this story without it.
This past January I was succumbing to my addiction, raptly watching the Hallmark movie, Amazing Winter Romance. It’s the tale of a young woman returning home and running into her, male, high school bff.
Of course they ultimately declare their love for each other and kiss lovingly in the sunset. Before that though, we learn the bff has built a huge snow maze to generate extra income for the family farm during the winter months. Get it? A maze, as in A-MAZ-ing Winter Romance.
Think corn maze built from snow with three-foot thick snow walls that are a good six feet high.
As I watched the movie I was totally fascinated by the size of this thing and just had to find out how they filmed it. I’m thinking it’s really smaller than it appears in the movie, it can't be that big. They had to have had a smaller maze or even just a few walls they shot from different angles to make it look enormous. Or maybe it was a blue screen effect of some kind but I couldn’t see Hallmark doing that, it’s not really their style.
So, in this 21st century world there’s only one way to find out, I Googled it. Come to find out IT’S REAL. It’s the freakin’ Guiness Book of World Records snow maze located just south of Winnipeg, Canada.
I was hooked. I had to see this thing. I mentally marked it down for my "to do" list a year down the road, during the next winter, figuring it was it was too late to do it then. I mean, this was February and it would soon be closing for the winter.
But I just couldn’t let it go and after ruminating on it for a couple of days and not being able to move on from the idea of seeing it, I decided now is the time. Two weeks after seeing the movie I was in Winnipeg.
The maze is located at A Maze in Corn in Saint Adolphe, Manitoba, 15 miles straight south of Winnipeg, and 800 miles from my house. I left late on a Thursday, immediately after work, and was there when it opened for business on Friday. Intentionally planned my arrival for that time, hoping to beat the crowds and have the place to myself for a short time. The plan worked with only handful of people there for the first hour I was on the grounds.
The place absolutely lives up to its billing, not to beat a dead horse but it truly is amazing. I spent a good hour wandering through it one way and then walking through the exit, taking the return trip in the opposite direction.
For this Hallmark geek it was great to spend time both in the maze as well as the warming barn where several scenes from the movie were shot. I expected Jessy Schram to come walking through the door at any moment.
So just how big is this thing?
This year’s maze (2021) is even bigger than last year, 240 x 240 feet.
It took between 750 and 800 semi-trailers to haul in all the snow they needed to build it.
Depending on your directional abilities, it takes approximately 30 minutes to find your way through.
Within the maze are both a snow chapel and a movie theatre showing, of course, Amazing Winter Romance.
Outside the maze there is a snow bar. Yes, a real bar serving real drinks.
There’s also a tall pile of snow for traditional sledding, and what I would call a luge-style ride with tracks for some higher speed sledding.
It was also fun to spend a little time talking with the people working there about their experience with the cast and crew during filming. The maze is only open around the weekends so it was easy to do the shooting earlier in the week. All reports were that the actors and crew were a friendly bunch. What else would you expect from Hallmark folks?
Side note, the trip wasn’t limited to the snow maze. It included a stopover in Northfield, Minnesota, where totally by chance I had another small Hallmark Christmas Movie experience, and time in Winnipeg along with a visit to its large winter celebration, Festival du Voyageur. And oh, did I mention the temperature was never much above zero degrees?
But, I’ll share all that in my next post.