Wintermission Eau Claire is a bold initiative to make it easier for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with one another, visit public spaces, and be active in winter.

Read the Wintermission Eau Claire
Community Engagement Summary Report.


The Wintermission program was created by 8 80 Cities, a non-profit organization based in Toronto, Canada. 8 80 Cities exists to create safe and happy cities that prioritize people’s well-being.

Through this project, we set out to combat social isolation and increase levels of physical activity in winter for residents of all ages and backgrounds.

Wintermission Eau Claire will unfold in three phases:

    • Engage
      First, we’ll spark a city-wide conversation about life in winter.
    • Launch
      Ideas from the community will help shape a series of exciting new projects and events to be launched in winter 2019-20.
    • Strategize
      Finally, we’ll develop the Eau Claire Winter City Strategic Plan with policy and planning recommendations to make Eau Claire a vibrant winter city.


November 2018
8 80 Cities launched a competition to select project partners in three U.S. cities. More than 60 applications were submitted by cities across the country. Eau Claire was selected along with Buffalo, NY and Leadville, CO.

January 2019
Members of the three Wintermission city teams convened at the Winter Cities Shake Up conference in Saskatoon, SK.

March – May 2019
Residents in Eau Claire will have opportunities to send ideas and feedback on what they love about winter in Eau Claire and what could be improved

November 2019 – March 2020
A series of new projects and events will be launched based on ideas received from the community. These pilot projects will be evaluated to determine their impact.

April – October 2020
The Wintermission Eau Claire team will work with local partners to develop a Winter City Strategic Plan with longer-term policy and planning recommendations to make Eau Claire a vibrant winter city.

Winter in Eau Claire

Eau Claire has 40 – 60 days with sub-zero temperatures in any given winter. The coldest months of the year receive less than 9 hours of sunshine and an average of 4 ft of snow. Due to these conditions; physical activity, social interaction and civic engagement decline among the 68,000 residents. Park and trail usage declines by 66% compared to the summer. 13% of community outdoor activities take place in the winter month.

Winter time can make social outlets disappear, disproportionately impacting community members that already face pre-existing barriers to civic engagement and active lifestyles. Eliminating barriers to access, providing community resources and social opportunities in all seasons is a shared priority for the Eau Claire Wintermission Team.

The city has great potential to innovate with winter programming and initiatives. Building on the success Winter After Hours, a community event filled with winter activities in Pinehurst Park and the annual New Year’s parades positions the City strategically to create additional winter programming. Through the Wintermission project, we strive to hopes further these efforts, shift public perception towards winter and get more people of all ages actively embracing social opportunities and public spaces during these key months.


Wintermission Eau Claire is led by the City of Eau Claire, Eau Claire City-County Health Department, Visit Eau Claire, Eau Claire Parks, Recreation and Forestry, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, with support from 8 80 Cities, the Children & Nature Network, and the National League of Cities.

This program is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation at CAF America.

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