For a few dozen hearty souls in Langley, the new year will begin with a bracing plunge into frigid water.
Others will opt for paddling into 2020 in heated indoor pools.
This year will mark the second year of the polar bear swim at the Otter Co-op Outdoor Experience at the Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre (ACUCC), and the seventh year of the polar bear plunge in Fort Langley.
Last year, after about 80 adults and kids took a dip in the unheated outdoor Aldergrove pool, the Township decided to make it an tradition, explained Nikole Longhi, the community recreation manager at ACUCC.
“There was lots of great feedback,” Longhi told the Langley Advance Times.
“We’re making it an annual event.”
Guests took part in a brand new tradition of jumping into the outdoor wave pool in a simulated “ocean experience.”
ACUCC opened their hot tub for the event, and served hot chocolate.
Those interested can sign up online at tol.ca/events for the free event, which starts at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 1.
For the first 150 people to register, there will be a 2020 Polar Bear Plunge crest.
So far, more than 90 have signed up, Longhi estimated.
The annual Fort Langley Polar Bear Swim is a more casual affair that draws dozens to jump in below-zero waters in the Fraser River off Brae Island.
Darian Kovacs, the founder of Jelly Marketing, took a polar bear plunge with just a few friends seven years ago, and the tradition has since grown on its own.
The event is unofficial and casually organized, so there is no registration fees or sponsors.
The swimming usually starts at noon and finishes very soon after.
For those who would prefer a dip in warmer waters, both indoor pools at the W.C. Blair and the Walnut Grove centre will be open on Wednesday, Jan. 1.
W.C. Blair opens at 8 a.m. on New Year’s Day, while Walnut Grove opens at 10 a.m. with its weekday public swim scheduled from noon till 4:30 p.m. and again from 6:30 to 10 p.m.
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