About 30 (fool)hardy souls took the plunge Jan. 8, 2011, at the Polar Bear Splash in Prescott Valley, Ariz., leaping from 45-degree air temperature into 35-degree water at Mountain Splash outdoor pool. The free event also included the Ice Princess Contest for men only, ice cream eating contest, free pancake and sausage breakfast from Back Burner restaurant, Rubber Duck Slide, crafts, jumpie, and hot chocolate. Photos by Sue Tone.
Under sunny skies, 45-degree temperatures and a slight wind, the Polar Bear Splash went off without a hitch on Saturday, as about 30 adults took the hearty plunge here.
Only little more than a week ago, the Prescott Valley area was still suffering through subfreezing temperatures from a recent snowstorm that blanketed the area.
However, conditions could not have been better for those brave souls who leapt into the Mountain Valley Splash pool's 35-degree waters in nothing but their swimming trunks and suits.
A sparse crowd of no more than 100 people showed up for the free, sixth annual event, which included a pancake breakfast, 29 prize giveaways, an ice cream eating contest, the Ice Princess "Hairy Man" contest, a rubber duck race and sledding on a modest hill behind the pool, among other activities.
Those who jumped into the frigid waters had the opportunity to dive for gift cards resting at the bottom of the pool. Some folks got in and out as fast they could, while others swam from one end of the pool to the other. But most participants did not last more than a half-minute in the bone-chilling waters.
Michael Goodluck of Prescott Valley, a spiritual man who took the plunge for the third time Saturday, said he could not have enjoyed it more. His wife and three children tagged along to support him. Goodluck said when he jumps into the water, he feels like getting out quickly, but resists the urge by crossing to the other side of the pool.
"It's still exhilarating just being able to get in and let your body be free for a minute - and see what you can do with your mind, your body and your heart," Goodluck said. "I just become one with the water, talk to the water, and let it know that I'm going to be blessing myself with it."
Kim Barron of PV, who has taken the plunge in each of the past five years, said her body feels numb as soon as she gets in the pool and that instinct drives her to jump out about as fast as she leaps in.
"You just relive it," she said. "It's still the same every time - you get pins and needles when you're in the water. But it's fun to come back and be with friends and family and know you're doing it again. It's a tradition now."
Meanwhile, James Dutch, 26, also of PV, took his first-ever leap Saturday.
"I couldn't stop screaming when I got out," Dutch said. "Once I started swimming, I couldn't feel like I could swim anymore. Once I got to where I could put my feet on the bottom of the pool, I just walked the rest of the way. It's an amazing out-of-body experience."
PV Parks and Recreation Director Brian Witty said the Polar Bear Splash gives folks a chance to momentarily escape the "winter doldrums" and "get outside and have fun as a community."
The town's Arts and Culture Committee conducted crafts activities for children along the north side of the pool, while an inflatable bouncer stood on the grass along the east side.
"We're celebrating the season - the fact that it's a new year - and we're brushing off the weight of the past," said Witty, adding that he hopes the event continues to grow in the coming years. "For some of us, that causes us to do things a little different. This is a creative way to do that."
Posted: Wednesday, January 12, 2011
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Sounds alot of fun...With 45 degree weather. Being from Duluth, Minnesota, in Feb. we have the Polar Bear Plunge, where a group will plunge in the icy waters of Lake Superior. I hope its above 10 degrees that day!!