A cold February lead to an even colder than usual Polar Bear Dip for jumpers on Feb. 23.
The event, which was originally set for Feb. 16, was postponed due to extreme weather, but delaying the event a week didn’t bring warmer temperatures.
“It was predicted to be -4 C for the following weekend [Feb. 23], so the weather just changed on us,” said Kristen Shima, Culture and Tourism Coordinator for the Town.
Seven-time dipper Corrie Brown, who jumped for the Sylvan Lake Municipal Library’s Youth Write Sponsorship program, says this year was the coldest she’s done.
Saturday was about -20 C before the windchill, but sat closer to -30 C with the windchill.
Brown says it was still, and always is, a good experience.
“There’s that brief moment when you kind of see the hole and you go ‘oh, I’m going to be in there’ and your stomach kind of clenches, but it all goes away,” said Brown, adding the dippers are only cold for a short period of time before being able to get warmed up.
“Reflecting on it, it would’ve maybe been better if they rescheduled it again, but I know it’s supposed to be colder this weekend,” said Brown.
Brown was one of 25 who jumped, which was lower than the predicted 36 participants.
“I think we did lose some participants because it changed the date, as well as the cold affecting a few people wanting to do it,” explained Shima, adding the weather is something out of their control when running an outdoor event.
The event raised a total of $22,536 for about 12 different local charities.
“The amount raised was amazing and the participation was really great,” said Shima.
The event’s top fundraiser was Crystal Belanger and Denae Hussey, who raised $7,311.50 for the Central Alberta Humane Society.
Team Serenity, a group of 14 participants who jumped for the Sylvan Lake and Area Serenity Pet Shelter Society, came second with $5,011.25.
Rounding out the top three fundraisers was Trent Petrich. Petrich raised $2,800 for the Central Alberta Ronald McDonald House.
The Polar Bear Dip ran alongside Winterfest 2.0 also on Feb. 23 and the Alberta Oval Ice Racing Championship Series on Feb. 24.
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