Taking a dip into Alouette Lake on Jan. 1 is a fun way to start the new year - for some brave souls.
Other people come out to support their loved ones and wait on the shore with towels and bathrobes as the swimmers take part in the annual Polar Bear Swim put on by the Ridge Meadows Outdoor Club.
The club organizes the event every year, but it is dependent on whether the gates to the park are open.
Park staff will close Golden Ears Provincial Park to cars if they deem the roads too dangerous.
If the gates are closed, the swim is cancelled.
The outdoor club meets in the morning of Jan. 1 for a hike, after which those who are going for the dip change into their swim gear and dip in at the boat launch area.
"We use the boat launch to ease ourselves into the water," said club president Serge Touchette.
Because the water is usually well below 10 degree Celsius, Touchette insisted that it is a "dip" and not a "swim."
The Polar Bear Swim is meant as a fun event, and not as a health pursuit like in the Nordic countries, Touchette said.
"It's good for the body if you don't have a heart condition or other medical condition," Touchette said.
While some people like to go parachuting and others go bungee-jumping, taking a dip into frigid waters is a fun thing for some people to experience, he added.
There were about 15 club members participating last year, but the event also attracts people from outside the club as well.
The Ridge Meadows Outdoor Club meets several times a week throughout the year for hikes, cycling, and other pursuits.
For more information about the club, go to www.rmoutdoorclub.ca.
The club has a policy of allowing people to join in on a few regular hikes before deciding if they want to become a member of the club, Touchette explained.
@ Copyright 2013