23 February 2009
Polar Plunge at the Eelpout Festival, Walker, 2009
A few explanatory notes are probably in order for non-U.S. readers or those from from warmer climates. In Scandinavia and some other northern countries, jumping into frozen lakes is recommeded for health reasons. The activity pictured above was conducted as part of a charitable fundraiser.
Walker, Minnesota is in the heart of the lake district of north-central Minnesota. For decades the city has been holding an Eelpout festival to enliven the midwinter doldrums. For the Polar Plunge, individuals and teams recruit sponsors who will donate funds if the person jumps into the lake. The team above is from D.W. Jones Management; their group plunge raised about $1,800 for the city's community center. The total raised by the Polar Plunge was about $25,000.
I'm told it wasn't as difficult as it looks. It was a bright sunny day, and the wind chill was only -1 F (-18 C). Paramedics, blankets, a warming house, and presumably some appropriate refreshments were nearby. Kudos to my brave friends in the picture; personally I prefer to remain in the background as a sponsor and blogger.