Splashing into 2018: LC Valley Polar Plunge


You may have started off the new year with a resolution; maybe wanting to cross something off your bucket list?

What about jumping in near-freezing water? For around 100 people, including KLEW News reporter Shannon Moudy, that was exactly how the new year started.

"3, 2, 1," the classic countdown as 2018 approches at New York City's ball drop. About twelve hours after the ball dropped at the stroke of midnight, another new year's tradition was sending close to 100 people into the frigid Snake River,

You may be wondering why in the name of baby new year anyone would want to do this.

LC Valley Polar Plunge organizer Jett Vallandigham has the answer. "There's good comradery here. Everybody's into doing something a little crazy."

Vallandigham started the plunge here around 18 years ago. "Well I've been doing this for years. Got to thinking I'm sure there's other people that want to do this."

The first year Jett was joined by two brave college students. The largest group to take the plunge was 152. No matter the group size, from countdown to double dippers (those who take the jump twice), the whole thing is over in rougly ten minutes.

"If you wait til 12 o'clock, it's over. Fastest event in the world," Jett laughs.

Last year, they had to break ice off the top of the water. Some years, Jett says, they've had ice floating like manatees.

"Forty degrees in the water and 40 degrees in the air. That's warm compared to what it's been other years," she explains.

Even with that sobering number, Shannon took the plunge for her first time ever. She says it's definitely cold and a shock to the system, but it was a unique and fun way to ring in a new year.

"It really makes you feel good that you've accomplished something all year," Jett says.

Here are some things recommended for those brave enough to take the plunge in 2019:

- Wear shoes. Especially ones you can get wet.

- Have someone waiting with towels, blankets, and warm clothes.

- Warm up your hands, feet, and cover your head as soon as possible. Jett advises wearing a hat to take the jump.

- Get out of your wet clothes ASAP.

- Celebrate your first big accomplishment of the new year! You did it!

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