This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada, which closed in 2021.

Just 2 Canadians Chilling Out In A Frozen Lake, Playing Chess

Nick McNaught and Ron Batuigas finished the game in about six minutes in Oak Lake.

It’s so much more than a polar bear plunge.

Ron Batuigas and Nick McNaught have been taking care of their friend’s resort, The Trace at Oak Lake in Havelock, Ont., since the fall, and have developed a bit of a routine when it comes to the water.

They get into the lake every day, getting more and more acclimatized to the chilly temperatures with cold exposures. Eventually, the pair decided to challenge themselves to something a little more intense than just sitting there.

Which is how this bone-chilling photo was born:

“Part of it is a battle between body and mind and finding that peaceful space with the discomfort,” McNaught told HuffPost Canada. “Turns out that you can kind of work towards the ability to concentrate on something completely different while sitting deep in the frozen lake.”

Reuters picked up on the time-lapse video that was also posted, and the pair has been interviewed by plenty of media outlets.

They’ve had to cut through about five inches of ice to do the exposures as temperatures have dropped. They estimate the chess game took about five to six minutes.

With a group of like-minded friends, they’ve also had a bonfire and roasted marshmallows in the lake, using a chunk of ice as the fire’s base.

Zach Ramelan/Instagram

But their longest dip so far was eight minutes, on Ron’s birthday last week.

“I enjoy discomfort, I enjoy testing my discipline,” McNaught says. “This is just a way to sharpen your discipline and improve it.”

One might even say it’s ... not unlike a game of chess.

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