The Great Polar Bear Plunge
You’ve probably heard of polar bear plunges before, maybe even participated in one. But the polar bear tradition we have here in the Treasure Valley is one you may have never checked out. Here’s how it works: On the first of January, to celebrate the New Year, tens of hundreds of people show up at the frigid shores of Lucky Peak Reservoir to take the plunge into the icy depths below. Now, this may seem to be insane, especially when you consider that January is usually one of the coldest months of the year in Boise, but wait until you hear why these people take the plunge, sometimes every year. The reason is not what you’d expect.
Every year on New Year’s Day, people don’t just show up at Lucky Peak to jump in at random; in fact, it is quite the opposite. These people show up because of the public invitation that is made to all in the Treasure Valley by the Make-a-Wish organization of Idaho. It is a fundraiser to raise money for terminally ill patients (usually children). To participate in the polar bear plunge you must first raise at least $50 to pay for entry. You don’t have to stop there, however. In fact, there are actually two contests, youth and adult, to see who can raise the most money. The winner gets a prize from the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Now, jumping in and out of the water once is exciting as it is, but wait till you hear they all do next. For many of those that participate in the plunge, there are many that even go wakeboarding, waterskiing, and other water activities afterwards! Oh, and don’t forget, they also have a crazy costume contest as well. So, if you are feeling like you want to take the plunge contact the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Idaho or visit their website.
This year’s Great Polar Bear Plunge was held on the 1st of January, 2016 at Spring Shores Marina. It was the 13th year in a row that the plunge has been held, so be sure to sign up early for next year’s so we can keep this tradition going! It is a fun way to connect with others in the community, give to charity, and have a great time!
And for those of you who are worried about hypothermia or anything of that sort, you can rest assured that there will be emergency personnel there for the event.