When in Nelson, why not jump into Kootenay Lake at the Rhythm Ropers Polar Bear Dip
When in Nelson, do as the Nelsonites do.
That was the motto of Tulio of Guadalajara, Mexico, at Friday’s salute to 2016 during the Nelson Rhythm Ropers Polar Bear Swim at Lakeside Rotary Park.
With most of his family in tow, Tulio joined 50 of his newest friends for a dip into Kootenay Lake.
“The water is frozen,” Tulio said from the snow-covered beach at Lakeside Rotary Park.
“It is . . . cold . . . very cold.”
Tulio was in Nelson to spend Christmas with his wife’s family.
After a day on the hill at Whitewater Ski Resort, Tulio decided to ring in the New Year by participating in the Nelson Rhythm Ropers Polar Bear Swim.
“Ya for sure,” Tulio said when asked about participating in the Polar Bear Dip.
“When you’re in a city, you do what they do,” he added.
More than 50 brave, hardy, souls flocked came to jump into Kootenay Lake at High Noon.
Approximately 150-200 people watched.
And it didn’t matter the age, swimmers young and old made the sprint, in and out, of the frigid waters of Kootenay Lake to ring in the New Year.
Lucrezia Piccicacchi, an exchange student from Italy, also joined in on the fun.
“It wasn’t so terrible,” Lucrezia said. “When I swim in the water near Sardinia, it’s even worse at times than it was today. So I was used to the water.”
The thermometer hovered around minus 4-Celsius mark — minus 6 and colder with the wind chill factored in.
Leona Dimock from the Nelson Rhythm Ropers counted down the seconds before participants sprinted into Kootenay Lake.
As a precaution the Nelson Search and Rescue Boat and Nelson Fire Rescue officials were present.
The event is a fundraiser for the Nelson Rhythm Ropers, which provided warm drinks to all participants and spectators.
Rhythm Ropers Skippers is the Nelson-based jump rope team, which has achieved recognition provincially, nationally and internationally with their incredible displays of skill in skipping.
The Rhythm Ropers wow audiences whenever they perform and are the subject of conversation everywhere.
So Tulio, what’s the temperature today in Guadalajara, Mexico?
“Probably around 30 C.”
Ouch, does that ever hurt!