CALABOGIE, ONT. -- Soldiers at CFB Petawawa are spending the week at Calabogie Peaks Resort conducting winter training.

Since Monday, 108 members of the Royal Canadian Dragoons have been participating in Exercise Frozen Spartan in Calabogie, Ont., which includes ice reconnaissance, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, and alpine skiing.

"Its purpose is to give our soldiers the tools to survive in a cold weather environment," Maj. Marsha Reid says. "But also do a little bit of tactical stuff as well. So they're not only surviving but thriving out in this environment."

While this group of soldiers is not in line for the next deployment to eastern Europe if there is one, they are required to be ready if called upon.

"This gives everyone an opportunity to learn about navigation in an area you're not familiar with, to get out in different types of terrain," Reid says.

The unit also says they get off base as much as they can to perform training exercises, given the confines of CFB Petawawa do not represent all the world has to offer.

"The terrain in Petawawa is quite flat, so we're using the mountains," Reid told CTV News Ottawa, referencing the ski hill. "So we've had our soldiers climb up the mountain after the ski lift closes at night and set up their camps back there. Building ice defences and shelters, and those types of things so that they can survive in any type of environment."

"It is a big training area, but there's only so many things and exercises you can do," Maj. Corporal Robert Kirouac says.

Kirouac was one of 14 members of the Dragoons who took the plunge into Calabogie Lake Thursday afternoon. Through 22-inch ice and into 2 degree water, soldiers were required to compose themselves following cold water immersion before pulling themselves to safety.

"It's immediate cold shock," Kirouac says of the experience. "And then your second reaction is I need to do what I need to do and then get out."

Reid says engaging with the residents of Renfrew County in public spaces is also an important part of the exercise, to show that the military members are just as much a part of the community.

"We've actually had really positive feedback throughout the week," acknowledges Reid. "A lot of people do want to come up to us, chat about what we're doing here, which is important. It's important for us to be transparent in what we do on a daily basis."