For some, the beginning of a new year starts with the cleansing of the past. Physically, mentally, spiritually, socially—there’s a cleanse for that. But a unique tradition in Boulder encourages people to jump into the new year feet first—literally…
The Boulder Polar Plunge is an annual tradition dating back to 1983 when Trygve Bauge, grandson and keeper of Boulder County’s favorite frozen dead guy, Grandpa Bredo Morstoel, created the Boulder Polar Bear Club as a fun and out-of-the-box gathering for the community to enjoy. Over the years, attendance for the Plunge skyrocketed—causing the organizers to seek a local non-profit willing to take over the management of the event. In 2007, the Young Professionals Alzheimer Association took over the reigns, and they continued to host the event with proceeds benefiting their parent organization, the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado until two years ago—when the organization announced that it would be cutting ties with the Boulder Polar Plunge, and in need of another local non-profit to become their successor in order for the tradition to continue.
Nearly twenty different organizations expressed interest in taking over the Plunge, but in the end, it was the Boulder County Aids Project that had the resources, the dedicated group of volunteers, and the event experience to continue this zany New Year’s Day tradition.
In their second year, BCAP is looking to surpass their first-year numbers of nearly 450 plungers and raise at least $20,000 to support their client services programs, prevention department, outreach and educational programs, and more.
“We get a lot of day-of registrations because a lot of plungers want to see how they feel on New Year’s Day after having fun on New Year’s Eve,”said Elissa Smith, Marketing and Special Events Coordinator for BCAP. “We’re expecting a great turnout this year.”
In its 32 years, the event has pretty much stayed the same. Dress up in a crazy costume. Join hundreds of plungers and spectators along the banks of the Boulder Reservoir. And when the time is right, take the plunge into the icy waters, and emerge ready to take on a new year.
“If you jump into icy water on New Year’s Day, the rest of the year can’t really get much more shocking that!” said Smith.
The Boulder Polar Plunge takes place from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on New Year’s Day at the Boulder Reservoir. It’s $25 to register as an adult and $20 to for kids under 12. Donations are also accepted online for non-plungers.