What an incredible experience!!!! Friday night I did my first ever polar bear plunge and I think I might be hooked! The event raised over $41K for Special Olympics Montana.
I checked in about an hour before the event, so I could have plenty of time to warm up and get changed into my costume. If you’re crazy enough to plunge, you should dress the part. There were so many cute costumes…Duck Dynasty, Cindy Lou Who, pirates, Santa, the list goes on and on. The winner of the costume contest, however, was a team of nursing students called Public Enema #1.
My team (The Copsickles) were up first. I left the warm building to wait in a heated tent. My plunging partner kicked off the event by giving a short speech (too cold for a long one) and some introductions. I had planned to wait in the tent until the speech was over, but was rushed onto the platform in that -26°F air. They didn’t want any lag time between the speech and the jump. If my costume was a little silly on its own, it looked outright ridiculous standing on a platform with a bunch of cops in uniform!
The first two sets of Copsickles made the plunge. Then it was our turn. We stepped onto the ledge of the pool. Three, Two, One. I flung my hands in the air and kicked my feet up as I plunged into that ice-cold water. I will never forget that sound or the feel of that icy water completely swallowing me. I quickly swam to the surface losing a shoe along the way and made my way to the other end to exit. I grabbed the ladder and immediately let go. A thick layer of ice had completely coated the ladder. I lost my other shoe. A man on the platform reached out his hand for me. The next thing I remember I was standing next to a hot tub frantically looking for stairs that weren’t there. I contemplated just diving in head first, my head was already wet after all. I decided against that and just put aside all lady-likeness for a moment and kind of rolled into the hot tub. You can see a video of a few of the jumps here. I am in the second to last set of jumpers on the video. Oh, and I’m totally creeping in the background at the beginning.
The only thing I can compare the rush of a polar bear plunge to is my first time sky diving, jumping from safety into the unknown with life threatening consequences if something went wrong. It was exciting. It was exhilarating. It was something I definitely want to do again.
I made so many great friends at the event, but some of my favorites have to be athlete John and his adorable girlfriend Katie. John earned the Golden Plunger award for raising the most money. He raised over $7K all by himself! Katie just gushed over him. She leaned in close as if to share a secret with me and told me she was the luckiest girl in the whole world. How can you not love people like her, so full of joy!