The big day has arrived—we finally get to find out who the winners of the 2019/2020 Hair Freezing Contest are! The annual contest, which has been going on since 2011 at the Takhini Hot Pools in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, drew in 288 contenders this year, but only 5 came out on top with the most creative frozen hairstyles.
There were 5 categories, including Best Male, Best Female, Best Group, Tim Hortons' Most Creative, and Nongshim Noodles People's Choice Award. Each winner got 2,000 Canadian dollars (that’s 1,411 US dollars), free soaks in the hot springs, as well as a 12 punch pass to the new facility to be opened in Fall 2020.
Bored Panda spoke with Andrew Umbrich, the owner of the Takhini Hot Pools, to learn more about the history of the contest from its humble beginnings. “The contest started in 2011. It was a very small contest with maybe 10 submissions a year, until 2015 when the contest went viral. Since then, we have gotten more participants and the prize money has grown every year.” Scroll down for the rest of our interview with Andrew, and remember to upvote your fave pics, dear Pandas.
“In 2015, the prize money was about 150 Canadian dollars [106 US dollars], in 2018, it was 4 prizes of 750 Canadian dollars [529 US dollars],” Andrew told Bored Panda. “We are one of the only accessible hot springs in a very cold climate in the world. Even Iceland doesn't get cold enough (max -20 degrees Celsius [-4 degrees Fahrenheit]).”
“So this means people can freeze their hair in the comfort of the hot springs water which is about 42 degrees Celsius [107.6 degrees Fahrenheit]. We noticed people could easily freeze their hair in comfort and an old manager thought of the idea of making it into a contest. People like it because it's unique and kinda crazy for most of the world,” the owner of the hot springs explained how the contest first started.
According to Andrew, the Takhini Hot Pools Hair Freezing Contest has been going viral ever since 2015 and has been featured on hundreds of news and weather channels, newspapers, hair magazines, books about competitions, and thousands of online articles.
“In 2018, during the contest, I could go for 100+ pages on Google search with the keywords ‘hair freezing contest’ and it was all about the competition. Next year, we expect to have about 5 sponsors for the contest and we hope to raise the prize money to 5,000 Canadian dollars [3,528 US dollars] or more per category.”
"People's Choice Award"
Andrew said that last year, they got around 50 contest entries and had expected to have around 150 to 300 for the 2019/2020 contest. “Tourists participate because it's something they can't really do anywhere else and it makes for crazy stories and photos. Locals do it for the prize money.”
“This year every entry into the contest will see packs of instant noodles be donated to the local food bank and our second sponsor will also be making donations for every entry into the contest. These donations will help increase local participation and the increase in prize money will also encourage tourists and locals to participate more. We want to make the contest very desirable to enter,” the hot pools’ owner said.
His advice on how to win the contest was very simple: “Go bold. Be creative. The winners are always obvious.”
According to Andrew, the Takhini Hot Pools get around 60k visitors each year. “We are the only hot springs in the Yukon and we are only 28 km [17 miles] from the downtown center. Our water is full of minerals: iron, calcium, potassium, silica, sulfur (but no smell in the water), magnesium, and sodium.”
“The content of our water is very heavy in calcium, iron, and magnesium. People with deficiencies in those minerals can get some benefits from soaking in our hot springs. Also, since our hot springs are in a large pool, people can stretch and exercise in the hot water which is very beneficial for stretching and recovering injured muscles.”
Note: this post originally had 105 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.