COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho-- Despite freezing temperatures, hundreds donned swimsuits Wednesday for the annual polar plunge into Lake Coeur d’Alene.
The plunge is a semi-official New Year’s Day gathering for young and old at Sanders Beach.
The 71-year-old man known by participants as “Polar Bear Rick” has made the plunge for 13 years, travelling from Libby Montana for the event.
“I have no response to the cold water. It doesn’t take my breath away,” he said. “I just dive in. Swim around, lay in it, and I’m in up to 30 minutes.”
The temperature Wednesday was 32 degrees at noon when participants dove in.