The sun was shining, it was providing no heat. The wind chill made the day feel like it was -17F. There was a large rectangular hole cut into the ice covering Green Lake in Spicer, Minnesota. The blocks of ice pulled from the lake lining the whole were about 26″ thick.
A group of friends met at Zorbaz on the Lake. Appetizers were eaten. Liquid courage was consumed.
As jump time neared I started to feel some butterflies and thought that I should have had a shot of something 90 proof. My fortitude wasn’t quite where it should have been.
From the door of Zorbaz a 40 yard dashed ensued. Through snow in shoes, shorts and shirts to a not-quite-a warming tent. After we gathered as a group we ventured down towards the hole. Towels were placed over a railing. Our team name, “Frigid Fox” was called and we jumped in pairs and trios into the water.
Trained rescuers were in the water should we get into trouble.
The moment my body hit the water an incredible fight or flight response took over. I would have pushed an 80 year old lady out of my way if it meant I could have exited any quicker.
I’m the guy in the middle of the first group of jumpers. Check it out. At least I didn’t screech like…a…well, like I wanted to.
Little did I know the worst of the situation lay ahead. Running out of the water, up the hill back into the 20F degree ‘warming tent’ would be as close to a ‘near dying’ experience as I’ve had. Soaking wet. Freezing cold. Yeah, stay off the ice. They say no ice is safe. If you fall through and are fortunate enough to get out you’re still in a heap of trouble if you have any distance whatsoever to traverse to find help. In other words…you’re probably screwed.
After stripping wet garments off and putting on comfy clothes we were back to the bar to swap stories and warm up.
All in all the team I was a part of raised over $1,000 for the Special Olympics. It was a great day. Will I do it again? The jury is still out on that one.
If you have a chance to do this with a group of friends you’ll raise some money for a great cause and have some good stories to tell.