Back to Hack makes fun of winter cold

Winners of several competitions that were part of the annual Hackensack event announced.

Man runs in competition at Back to Hack
Eric Opheim won the annual Frostbite Ur Fanny fun run on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

HACKENSACK — Hackensack's annual winter wonderland celebration - Back to Hack - brought people out of hibernation if only for a few days Jan. 13-16.

The medallion hunt got an early start with Sue Peterson and Andrea Foster bringing home the prize.

Still a popular event in spite of cold temperatures, the Frostbite Ur Fanny fun run brought in 11 chilly participants, though only winner Eric Opheim seemed primed to run. The rest used it as a chance for a leisurely social walk. Opheim finished with a time of 16 minutes and 58 seconds.

Back to Hack snow sculpture minions (2).JPG
Hackensack Lumber and Hardware carved three ice fishing minions for the annual snow sculpture competition on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

There was no shortage of snow for the annual snow sculpting competition. Four entries competed for prizes: Hackensack Lumber and Hardware carved out three ice fishing minions, Lighthouse Evangelical Church carved a penguin protecting an egg, St. Paul's Lutheran Church carved a giant porcupine with wooden quills, and Union Congregational Church had a dog house with a pack of dogs.

Hackensack Lumber and Hardware won this year's competition.


Back to Hack penguin snow sculpture
Lighthouse Evangelical Church in Hackensack carved a penguin with an egg for the Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 Back to Hack snow sculpting competition.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Nobody got soaked in the absence of the annual Penguin Plunge. Instead visitors enjoyed an ice golf event along the shore of Birch Lake near the Hackensack Chamber of Commerce.

Back to Hack dogs snow sculpture
St. Paul's Lutheran Church sculpted a small pack of dogs for the annual Back to Hack snow sculpting competition on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

There were many other events throughout Saturday, but as always it all concluded with a bonfire and fireworks over Birch Lake.

"Another record number of folks brought their sweethearts Back to Hack for the annual festival Jan.14 through Jan. 16," said chamber manager Bonnie Dupre. "There were a lot of people warming up when the bonfire was lit at 5:30 Saturday night and oohed and awwed at the fabulous fireworks display over Birch Lake at 6."

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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