Spectacular Things Happen When You Let Winter Do Your Hair

A group of people with frozen hair sittingin salt spring water.
When winter is your stylist, no two hairdos are quite the same.

Courtesy of Takhini Hot Pools Resort

Of all the frosty traditions hailing from Canada — from dog sledding to plunges in icy lakes to 30-mile marathons across the frozen tundra — this may be the most hair-raising of all.

Since 2011, Takhini Hot Pools resort in Yukon Territory has been hosting its annual International Hair Freezing Contest. Essentially, the resort is offering cash and prizes to guests at the northerly resort who let Old Man Winter style their hair.

A woman with frozen hair.
Frozen hair is gloriously easy to sculpt.

Courtesy of Takhini Hot Pools Resort

And, perhaps a little surprisingly, hundreds of people from around the world have embraced the challenge. But not surprisingly, the contest, which runs all winter long thanks to the resort's very northerly exposure, has resulted in some truly spectacular stylings.

Forget mousse and hair gels and crimping irons. Winter just uses a blow dryer.

"The purpose of the contest is to create the most creative frozen hairdos possible," the resort's website notes. "You soak in the hot springs and allow the steam to accumulate on your head while the cold air freezes your hair."

It's not nearly as uncomfortable as it sounds, since contestants get to bask in a natural hot spring while their hair is getting done.

A man in a hot spring pool with frozen hair.
Gravity can't touch his hair.

Courtesy of Takhini Hot Pools Resort

And just in case you're new to the whole frozen hair look, the hotel offers a quick tutorial. It pretty much boils down to dunking your whole head in the hot springs at the site. You'll need to pick a cold day with the temperature somewhere around minus 20 degrees Celsius, which is about minus 4 F. (Don't worry, winter in Yukon typically offers plenty of those days.)

A man in a hot spring with frozen hair.
Rock on, winter.

Courtesy of Takhini Hot Pools Resort

Then let that cold air work its frosty charm on every strand of hair above the neck — including eyebrows, eyelashes and beards (if applicable).

The process of freezing your hair in three steps.
Just remember to keep those ears warm.

Courtesy of Takhini Hot Pools Resort

One thing: ears generally don't respond well to being frozen. The hotel recommends periodically dipping those sensitive lobes in the hot water. A little patience, a dash of creative styling ... and voila! Frosted chic.

A couple with frozen hair in a hot spring.
Winter can be a powerful bonding experience.

Courtesy of Takhini Hot Pools Resort

If you're blessed with slightly subarctic conditions where you live — and don't care to win one of the resort's prize packages — you might even try this at home. Although, let's face it, your family may not appreciate seeing you leap from the bath to the backyard in all your shivering glory. Come to think of it, you may not appreciate it either.