Several Jump Into 2021 During Annual Polar Plunge In Salem

Jan 1, 2021, 11:02 PM | Updated: Jul 12, 2023, 5:13 pm

SALEM, UtahFor many, watching the ball drop is a tradition on New Year’s Eve, so is jumping into an ice cold pond on New Year’s Day. To ring in the new year, dozens of people showed up in Salem for the annual polar plunge. 

You could spend a lot of time reflecting on the past, but New Year’s Day should be spent looking forward.

At Salem Pond in Utah County, though, all anybody could look at was people wearing bathing suits, bare feet on the snow, lining up to go swimming.

“There’s two tents you can change into with heaters inside,” said a voice on a loudspeaker.

January 1st is the annual polar plunge at this small pond.

Fishermen in boats stopped to watch the action.

“All my buddies come and do this with me every year,” said Brian Stauffer, who lives in nearby Spanish Fork.

This year, about a hundred buddies came along, including many he hasn’t met yet. They will still form a bond because of the one thing they all came here to do.

“Oh, I’m excited to get in there and swim across,” said one man shivering with only swim trunks on. “I’ll probably freeze before I make it halfway.”

At least he knew there was the potential to freeze, in case any lawyers were watching. But even the coldest attorney could find warmth in Friday’s atmosphere.

There were cheerleaders, music and people clapping.

“It’s a great day to be alive,” yelled Stauffer and his friends as they snapped a picture before the big run into the water.

When the voice on the loudspeaker counted down to zero, people ran in, and for them, it felt like the temperature reached it as well.

There was a lot of yelling — some were screams of delight, others appeared to be second guessing their decision.

“You have to be a little crazy to do this,” said one woman running out of the water. “You get that, wooo, it’s so cold, but you get that rush through your body. It’s really fun.”

Fun is one way to put it, but young children don’t lie.

“It was really cold, like I was ice,” said one young shivering girl wrapped in a towel.

Of course, maybe it was the shivering and suffering that brought everyone together, kind of like what 2020 was all about.

It was a year we could all use a good bath from.

“Well, I don’t know that cold water can wash off anything, let me tell you,” said Stauffer with a laugh.

Here’s to 2021 and better days ahead.

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Several Jump Into 2021 During Annual Polar Plunge In Salem