Frigid temperatures don’t stop annual Polar Bear Plunge into Lake Coeur d’Alene

Coeur d'Alene Polar Bear Plunge
Despite freezing temperatures, swimmers jump into Lake Coeur d'Alene for the annual Polar Bear Plunge
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COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho – The water temperature was a balmy 33 degrees, 17 degrees warmer than the air. That couldn’t stop people from plunging into Lake Coeur d’Alene for a beloved local New Year’s Day tradition.

The Polar Bear Plunge has been a holiday staple for 40 years.

“People just like to come down. We have more people in this town than we’ve ever had before, so now people are like this is going to be a new tradition for us,” said Eric Nelson who never misses a Polar Bear Plunge. “They bring their kids down. They bring their blankets.”

Saturday, with snow on the ground and ice on parts of the lake, humans in all stages of dress played polar bear, diving into the frigid water.

A sign on the beach proclaiming the temperature of air and water couldn’t keep participants away.

Polar plunge Lake Coeur d'Alene

Polar bear plunges happen all over the world to start the new year.

The website NationalToday.Com says the first documented event in the U.S. happened in Boston in 1902.

Scandinavian countries, though, have been doing it for centuries.