Polar Bear Dips, Swims, Plunges and Jumps
2014 Orillia Polar Bear Dip
The Orillia Winter Carnival and Polar Bear Dip
Each year at the Orillia Winter Carnival one of the main events is the Polar Bear Dip. In 2013 six thousand dollars was raised and went to the Orillia Youth Centre.
This year, 2014, all money raised through the dip will be going to Camp Couchiching. No child should ever be turned down due to financial circumstances when they want to go to camp. With all the help from the community and the money raised from the Polar Bear dip thousands of kids can attend one of the various programs that they offer at Camp Couchiching.
The temperature outside at this event was -12° C or 10.4° F but with the wind chill factor a chilly -22° C or -7.6° F. Water freezes at O C or 32 F
Where in the World is Orillia, Ontario?
More Cold Shots .... brrrr
Orillia Polar Bear Dip 2014
Group Plunges into the Icy Cold Water of Lake Couchiching
Orillia Winter Carnival
I'd not been to the Orillia Winter Carnival in quite a few years, and thought that it would be a lot of fun to get out and spend Sunday afternoon there. If the weather had of been a bit warmer I probably would have stayed longer than I did.
Even though the temperature said it was -12° C or 10.4°F, I'm sure it was a lot colder on the lake. The weather didn't stop the hundreds of people that attended the winter carnival and fun was had by all.
There was an ice castle complete with slide for the kids to enjoy as well as carnival rides and many food vendors.
My son Matthew, his girlfriend Meghan and I mainly wanted to see the polar bear dip. We walked by the registration booth where the water jumpers had to sign in and we were quite surprised that many of them were only wearing their swim suits with towels wrapped around them. I had on long underwear underneath my jeans, hoodie, and winter coat that was zipped up to my nose and I was cold. I couldn't possibly imagine how cold the polar bear dippers were.
Several of the participants wore costumes such as angel wings, animal heads, and several wore t-shirts into the water. Ages of the jumpers varied from teenagers to young adults.
People had come from quite far to join in on the fun. There was one girl that came all the way from Virginia, USA.
There were many people that had never been in a polar bear dip previous to this one, and then there were somewhere this was their tenth year of joining in.
As we stood there watching this event, shivering, and having our eyes water from the extreme cold, all I could think was I'd never be able to do this in a million years.
Quick hand me that towel!
Dry suit vs. Wet suit
So what exactly is the difference between a wet suit and a dry suit?
- Dry suits are warmer and keep you dry, where on the other hand wet suits do not keep you dry.
- Wet suits allow a small amount of water to come between the suit and your skin. The water does heat up to your body temperature. Wet suits are easier to wear and are much lighter than dry suits.
- Wet suits should be worn in extremely cold water as they will keep your skin dry.
History of Polar Bear Dips
- People have been jumping into icy water dating back as far as the very early 1900s.
- The countries you will mainly find Polar Bear dips in are: Canada, The Netherlands, The USA, and The UK.
- In Canada and the USA the dips are mainly for charity events.
- In Oakville, Ontario, the Polar Bear Dip takes place on New Years Day. Since 1995 people have been participating jumping into Lake Ontario, and have raised over $1,060,000 for World Vision Canada.
- You will find some people jump into lakes and water to celebrate or ring in the new year.
- With polar bear dips swimming is not usually done, however there are ice swimming events that take place in Russia and Eastern Europe. Where there is frozen water you can pretty much find ice swimming worldwide.
Oh man that water looks cold!
In the video below you can only imagine how cold this water must be. This was a video from the 2013 Polar Bear Dip in Barrie, Ontario. This is just south of me and I hope you enjoy watching this video from the warmth of your home.
2013 Polar Bear Dip in Barrie, Ontario
When participating in extreme sports such as polar bear dips there are health risks that people should be aware of before jumping in any cold waters.
- Hyperventilation - This occurs when you breathe too quickly, take in too much oxygen and end up reducing the carbon dioxide that is in your body. This can lead to an unconscious state.
- Hypothermia - The normal body temperature is 98.6°F, and when it goes to 95°F hypothermia can occur, and result in death.
- Frostbite - can occur when the skin is exposed to cold temperatures and even more so when wet. In some cases frostbite can cause the blood vessels, muscles and nerves to freeze.
Watch Rick Mercer Jump Into Lake Ontario
Your feelings on polar bear dips
Have you ever participated in a polar bear dip or jump?
Orillia 2015 Polar Bear Dip
On February 15th at 2pm the Polar Bear Dip will be held at Couchiching Beach Park, in Orillia, Ontario. This year there will not be a carnival but come on out and support your local charities and cheer on the jumpers and dippers.
The Courage Polar Bear Dip
Please note that the author of this article, Susan Zutautas or Just Ask Susan, is not a health care worker in any capacity and only states the health risks involved with extreme winter sports through her own research.
© 2014 Susan Zutautas