01/19/2014 12:19 EST | Updated 03/21/2014 05:59 EDT

Zip-line if you dare at Montreal's Fête des Neiges

Despite some soggy ice surfaces, Saturday’s kick-off of Montreal’s Fête des Neiges came off mostly without a hitch.

Until Feb. 9, Montrealers can go tube sliding, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, skating, snowshoeing, zip-lining, dogsledding and curling at Parc Jean Drapeau — and those are just some of the activities available to people.

Hossein Abaeian, originally from Iran, decided to be brave on his first visit to the festival by lacing up skates and hitting the refrigerated ice trails.

“It was the first time and it was awful,” Abaeian says. “In my country, and actually in my city, we never have any snow like this.”

Organizers are hoping about 70,000 people take part this year. The coming cold spell this week may improve the condition of the skating circuit and curling surfaces, and the light dusting of snow that fell over Montreal this weekend also helped the festival out.

“We just had a beautiful snow,” says Fête des Neiges spokeswoman Martine Venne.

“It was the icing on the cake.”

A number of musical acts and athletes will also appear over the course of the festival, including Jonas and the Massive Attraction and Bran Van 3000. The full Fête des Neiges program is here.