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Tis' the season to be freezin': Polar Bear Plunge 2013

By Rebecca Vogt, KCFW Reporter, rvogt@kcfw.com
Published On: Jan 01 2013 06:44:47 PM MST
WOODS BAY, Mont. -

Despite snow and below freezing temperatures a brave group of people decided to dive into Flathead Lake Tuesday afternoon for the 19th annual Polar Bear Plunge. Some folks are veterans like Chuck, who's been plunging for 13 years.

"It's just a great experience to start the new year off," said Chuck Shielvs. "It's refreshing! Gets you energized."

Sean Patrick O'Neill is a first timer. He said he had some training when he jumped into Glacier National Park's Iceberg Lake.

"I thought maybe at some point I would have this opportunity to jump into Flathead Lake when it was freezing cold outside," said O'Neill. "I think I trained well."

Soon the minutes turned into seconds with a countdown to the big dip, when everyone shed their outer layers to splash around in the frigid lake.

As our chilly friends emerged, teeth chattering, they stopped to reflect on their frigid, yet satisfying experience.

"I think I outlasted most people," said Shielvs. "But It's all about just getting in there and starting off the new year on the right foot and enjoying yourself while you're in there."

O'Neill described the waiting period before having his chance to jump in, "It was a long process. It took a lot longer than I thought it would. But in the end, it was totally what I expected and more. I think it's the best thing I've done all year and I just hope the rest of the year follows."