Organizers of the Winter in the Woods in Bragg Creek couldn't be happier with the response they received to their inaugural winter festival.

Chair Brian Robertson says it laid a foundation to build upon for future winter festivals.

"All the feedback received so far has been amazing," says Robertson. "I think people went home happy. I know the sponsors were all happy, and in fact, some of our top sponsors have already said they want to do it again next year."

"We got really lucky on a number of things. It was cloudy, so the ice held out, and we got a lot of good people involved who came through so much for us." 

The event raised community spirits and attracted visitors to the community. Along the way, about $12,000 was raised to continue to restore and upgrade the outdoor rink.

The U15 Bragg Creek Bears lost a close one to the Phantoms and the evening game saw the Redwood Meadows Bucks squeeze by the Powderhorn Pistols, 4-3.

"Redwood scored 10 seconds into the game, and we thought it was going to be a blowout, but then it became a really good hockey game."

Open skills competition events were won by a 13-year-old and a 25-year-old. Those ages 10 to 40 enjoyed the event.

He says a tight schedule didn't allow for separate youth and adult events, but it's a consideration for next year.

The human curling event proved to be the highlight of the day and drew the largest crowd.

The chuck-a-puck that closed the festival saw 420 pucks sold. River Dragonfly won the naming rights of the rink for one year.

Robertson praised the rink maintenance crew for their hard work in preparing the ice in a week that saw the temperature soar above zero.

"We don't have a Zamboni or an Olympia, so it's all hand done. They have to hand scrap it, then they hand flood it with a hose."

"It was a true testament to Bob Jackson and those guys. Bob's been with us for 20 years flooding that ice, so he knows what he's doing, and we're so happy to have him."

The funds raised will aid with further upgrades to the rink.

"It's an aging facility and we definitely need to pour some money into it to redo the asphalt and the boards and just make it better."

Rose Dallyn, the owner of the Powderhorn Saloon, was one of the first to step forward in support of the event. She says she typically volunteers to run the bar for Bragg Creek events.

She says it looked to be a great success and believes it will only get bigger and better each year.