Polar bear dippers welcome New Year with a frigid dash into Okanagan Lake - InfoNews

Current Conditions

9.5°C

Polar bear dippers welcome New Year with a frigid dash into Okanagan Lake

Barnacle Boy John Hughes and Mermaid Man Steve Fenning prepare to enter Okanagan Lake at Summerland's 2017 Polar Bear Dip at Sun Oka Park in Trout Creek, Jan. 1, 2017.
January 01, 2017 - 1:52 PM

PENTICTON - A fresh dump of snow and sub-freezing temperatures proved perfect weather for Summerland’s New Year’s Day Polar Bear Dip.

Participants from as far away as Australia ran the beach for a brief dip in the waters of Okanagan Lake.

Australian Mandi Lister, left, with oldest participant 74 year old Barry Bates and Rob Beach, also of Australia.
Australian Mandi Lister, left, with oldest participant 74 year old Barry Bates and Rob Beach, also of Australia.

Summerland Kinsman Club’s Blair Cunningham said roughly 200 people showed up for the frigid frolic, which has taken place at Sun-Oka Beach in Trout Creek for 32 years now.

“Numbers might be down slightly from last year because of the weather, but it looks about the same,” he said after the last participants left the water.

Participants ranged in age from seven-year-old Ben Rattan of Summerland to 74-year-old Barry Bates of Naramata.

Seven year old Ben Rattan of Summerland took honours for youngest participant in the Summerland 2017 Polar Bear Dip.
Seven year old Ben Rattan of Summerland took honours for youngest participant in the Summerland 2017 Polar Bear Dip.

Nine members of Penticton Search and Rescue participated in the dip, with three taking up positions in the water in submersible suits. Two volunteers from B.C. Ambulance were also on hand.

Penticton Search and Rescue’s Dale Jorgenson measured the water temperature just prior to the dip at around 1 degree Celsius.

“It’s probably colder than last year,” he said, noting the prolonged freezing spell in December.

Air temperature was around -1 Celsius with overcast and a slight breeze from the north.

Father - son duo Brad and Logan Borsheim prepare for a New Year's plunge.
Father - son duo Brad and Logan Borsheim prepare for a New Year's plunge.

Dippers kept true to tradition this year, dressing in costume to provide some extra entertainment for spectators which appeared to outnumber participants by at least 3 to 1.

No New Year's babies, is this group, from left: Ella MacDonald, Duncan Hamilton, Corin Van Schleinitz, Ryan  Van Schleinitz and Alex McKinnon theme up as they prepare to take a plunge into the January waters of Okanagan Lake.
No New Year's babies, is this group, from left: Ella MacDonald, Duncan Hamilton, Corin Van Schleinitz, Ryan Van Schleinitz and Alex McKinnon theme up as they prepare to take a plunge into the January waters of Okanagan Lake.

Summerland Kinsmen, who organized the always popular New Year’s Day ritual, provided several bonfires for participants, as well as souvenir T-shirts. They also operated a concession serving hot dogs and hot drinks for a donation, proceeds of which fund local families and community projects.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
InfoTel News Ltd

  • Popular vernon News
  • Comments
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile