Find out where to take a Polar Bear Plunge for New Year's 2023 - Albuquerque Journal

Find out where to take a Polar Bear Plunge for New Year’s 2023

The city of Albuquerque will host its Polar Bear Plunge event at Sierra Vista Pool on Jan. 7. (Dustin Lamar/City of Albuquerque)

If not familiar, a polar bear plunge is a popular event across the globe that is typically held on New Year’s Day. Participants will enter a body of frigid water no matter the low temperature. New Mexico is offering a few options if you dare.

Eagle Nest Lake State Park is hosting its Polar Stomp! Event, which includes a first day hike and a plunge into the lake. Registration begins at noon on Sunday, Jan. 1, at the visitor center, and participants will be able to spend about an hour on flat trails.

Depending on the depth of the snow, snowshoes or snow boots are encouraged, and hot chocolate and cookies will be waiting for hikers upon return.

At 2 p.m. the bravest of souls will then test the icy waters of the lake. The first 90 plungers will receive a T-shirt, and the extra layer may be worth being prompt.

Storrie Lake is also hosting a cool refreshing cleanse to the new year. The lake’s Polar Bear Plunge will take place at noon on Jan. 1, and participants will hop off the boat dock into the water. All park fees are waived for the event.

The city of Albuquerque has an event planned, but they are waiting a week to take advantage of the first Saturday of 2023.

The Al’burrr’querque Polar Bear Plunge will take place on Jan. 7, at Sierra Vista Pool. Josh Herbert, the city’s aquatics division manager, said this is the third polar bear plunge event, but the first at Sierra Vista. The first two events were at West Mesa Aquatic Center in 2020 and 2022.

He said about Sierra Vista, “It’s a nice heated facility with warm showers, so the pool manager there has been working for the past month or so to bring it back up to standards similar to summertime.”

The pool is expected to be around 40 degrees for the plunge. Participants can even jump in or, for an extra challenge, take one of the slides into the water. Herbert is a fan of the latter.

“You get the jolting cold from the slide water rushing around you, but then once you go into the pool, you take that plunge, you kind of have to dunk your head down,” he said. “It’s a very unique experience.”

Registration is $40 for the plunge and $50 to use the slide. The fees will go directly to the city’s “Shanta Strong” swim fund, which helps pay for swim lessons for children who can’t afford them. The fun was set up in honor of Shanta Hanish, a swimming and water aerobics instructor who was murdered in 2019 along with her mother.

“We’re continuing her legacy and helping kids learn how to swim,” Herbert said.

He added that a portion of the registration fees will also go toward snacks for the polar bears and penguins at the zoo.

There is still time to register online for the city’s polar bear plunge. Along with the events hosted by the state parks, there are opportunities for a refreshing start to 2023.

“It’s very rejuvenating, and It’s just an incredible way to start the year,” Herbert said.

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