Not Even a Pandemic Can Stop the Polar Plunge

Freeze your tuchus off for a good cause

It’s 48 degrees and sunny out: Why don’t you go jump in a lake?! Starting this weekend you can — and it’ll be for a good cause.

The Polar Plunge is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Special Olympics Minnesota. The money raised helps support training and other programming and services for 8,100 athletes across the state.

The North Star state is hosting more than 30 Polar Plunge events this year, running now through May 8. Upcoming locations include Maple Grove, Rochester, Woodbury, Eden Prairie, Duluth, St. Cloud, and Minneapolis. Participants must register in advance for a specific time slot and location.

Photo: Polar Plunge

No spectators are allowed, but you can form a team of fellow masochists (co-workers, friends, whatever) or tackle the plunge solo. A photographer will be on hand to document the frigid zaniness—and yes, costumes 🦸🏿‍♂️🧑🏼‍🎤🧟‍♀️ are encouraged. Note: The signup deadline for each plunge is noon the Friday before the event.

If you’ve never plunged before, enter “Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union” when asked “How did you hear about us?” and the business will automatically donate $25 to your fundraising efforts. Other incentives include a vintage-style hockey hat and lightweight convertible duffel for folks who exceed certain monetary thresholds. At the end of the season, one lucky Polar Plunger will be randomly selected to win the Grand Plunge Prize: an Indy XC 600 129 snowmobile from Polaris, worth nearly $12,000.

Strict pandemic guidelines are in place this year, staggering the number of plungers who can jump at any one time and limiting capacity in changing tents. Masks are required at all events (except when jumping, of course) and participants must pass a wellness screening.

If you’re not comfortable plunging in public, no problem: You can participate in the event’s first-ever Virtual Plunge fundraiser. So far, 432 online plungers have raised $61,656 of the event’s $50,000 goal 👏👏👏. The digital initiative is open to interpretation: You could dump a bucket of ice water over your head while doing a TikTok dance, plunge into an ice bath you create in your tub at home, or do swimsuit snow angels (assuming you can find snow that hasn’t melted yet). Just please don’t jump in an actual lake, since emergency responders won’t be on hand to save you from yourself.

For more information, visit plungemn.org.