Seattle's Child

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Polar Bear plunges 2022

Polar bear plunges and other chilling, invigorating ways to start the new year

A few hardy souls like to start the year with a freezing dip.

Seattle’s official Polar Bear Plunge is returning to the city for an in-person event in 2023.

What’s that you ask? New Year’s Day plunges are your family’s chance to greet 2023 with an invigorating — if crazy — dive into a chilly lake or other other body of water. For some, it’s an annual tradition. If this is your family’s first plunge, here’s three big tips for making it through:

  • Remember to pack a change of clothes
  • Keep your feet warm before and after the plunge, and
  • Don’t forget to breathe when you hit the cold water

Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Meadowbrook Community Center Advisory Council are co-sponsoring the annual Seattle event, which includes an ice-cold dive into Lake Washington. All ages are invited to participate, so jump in as a family. Those who immerse themselves up to the neck will receive a Commemorative Badge of Courage as proof of the participation in this frigid and invigorating annual craziness. All will be rewarded warm drinks as well.

Younger polar bears (or any bears who need a little more room to navigate) are encouraged to take part in the Polar Cub Club dip with will immediately precede the main plunge at noon. Jump in with your child first and then do it again in the main event for double bragging rights.

Seattle Parks and Recreation offers these tips for enjoying a fun, safe Polar Bear Plunge:

  • Make the plunge even more special by dressing up in a costume!
  • Come early, and carpool or take the bus
  • If anyone in your family has problems or other serious medical concerns, consult your healthcare professional before taking the Polar Bear Plunge. If you can’t go in the water, come and watch!
  • Stay in the water for no longer than 15 minutes—you lose body heat 25 times faster in water than in air.
  • Keep your outer clothing on until you’re ready to get in the water. After the plunge, remove wet clothing before getting into dry clothes.

According to the parks department the Polar Bear Plunge was the first official event of its kind the region when it was first held on Jan. 1, 2003. This year upwards of 2,000 are expected to jump into the lake.

The Seattle Polar Bear Plunge takes place on Jan. 1 at Matthews Beach, located 9300 51st Ave. NE.  General admission starts at noon, with space open at 11:45 a.m. for younger participants who may join the Polar Cub Club plunge.

Resolution Run and Polar Bear Dive

Run before you plunge! Join the 5K run/walk that starts at Magnuson Park with an optional dive into Lake Washington right before the finish line. Free kid’s dash also available for children 10 & under. Enjoy the free hot chili, cocoa and more after your run/dive. Registration required.

More polar bear plunges around Seattle

Alki Beach Polar Bear Plunge

Head on over to Alki Beach and take your plunge at 10 a.m. sharp. Plungers will meet at across from Duke’s Chowder House.

Outside Seattle

Des Moines
Plunge into the waters of Puget Sound at 10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 1, at Des Moines Beach Park and Quarter Deck, 2023.

Lake Sammamish State Park

You can run into chilly Lake Sammamish on Sunday morning during the Polar Plunge at Lake Sammamish State Park and sponsored by Virginia Mason Health. Festivities will begin at 10:30 a.m. with registration, music, and merriment on the shores of Sunset Beach. The crowd will “plunge” at noon. The first 300 registered participants will receive a Polar Plunge souvenir fleece hat, souvenir pin, commemorative sticker and coupons for a cup of Ivar’s clam chowder and other New Year’s Day offers at local restaurants and establishments. Dress up individually or as a team for the plunge costume contest. Registration opens online on Dec. 1 at lakesammamishfriends.org.

Kirkland’s January Jump

Due to low registration this event is cancelled.

Renton Polar Bear Plunge

Meet at South Beach of Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park and brave the chilly waters with a plunge at 10 a.m.

Edmonds Polar Bear Plunge

Plunge into the new year at 1 p.m. Meet at Daphne’s and walk over to the beach. Details on website.

Burien’s Annual Polar Plunge

Join in on this Burien tradition and join the crowds of plungers at noon on Jan 1.

Farther afield

Birch Bay

Join in for the 40th anniversary of the very popular plunge in scenic Birth Bay, two hours north of Seattle. The Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce will be open its registration and warming tent at Beach Cat Brewing Company (7876 Birch Bay Drive) starting at 10 a.m. Pre-registration encouraged and event sponsors highly recommend participants wear water shoes or old sneakers into the water, because barnacle-bearing rocks are a feature of the site. To pre-register, birchbaywa.org.

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