2016 Polar Bear Swim

The 2016 Polar Bear Swim drew 61 swimmers, about half the number of people who usually dare to jump in.



This year it actually felt warmer in the water than standing on the beach.

That’s what the majority of swimmers proclaimed following the Polar Bear Swim on New Years Day in Trail.

The Columbia River was a balmy 4 C at noon on Friday in Gyro Park, compared to the -8 C temperature that felt much colder taking into account the wind chill.

But there was no complaining from the 61 swimmers who rang in the new year with a dip once the rescue boat was near shore and Lt. Bart Fyffe gave the signal.

Though the number of participants was roughly half the usual, (last year there were 129) the beach was lined with hundreds of onlookers, who cheered and snapped photos before gathering around the beach bonfire, courtesy of the 44 Engineer Squadron.

First on the beach this year, arriving at 10:30 a.m. in shorts, T-shirt, and a Santa hat, was Jim Harrold.

After 25 years of taking a dip Jan. 1, whether it was in Vancouver, Mission or Trail, Harrold well knows that acclimatizing to the conditions before taking the plunge somewhat softens the blow and prevents “brain freeze” when diving in head first.

This year, Harrold had an added challenge, which was a hair-free scalp.

On Dec. 19 at the Trail Legion, he shaved his head to raise awareness for cancer.

Besides keeping the tradition of a Polar Bear Swim and being one of the first in the river this year, Friday also marked Harrold’s first day sitting as president of the Trail Legion since he left the position one year ago.

Just Posted

Columbia Basin Trust offering business accelerator program

Trust seeking motivated companies for customized support and mentorship program

Trail military exercises provide crucial training

Exercise Sapper Crucible: ‘The nuts and bolts of what a soldier is’

VIDEO: SPCA ushers in new era with Castlegar facility

$2.69-million project had ribbon cutting on Friday

Thrums, Riondel, and Slocan, revisited

Place Names: Scottish author delighted by Thrums name origin

Last stand for Silver City summer

Fall officially arrives in Trail at 6:54 p.m. on Saturday

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

Most Read