What It's Like to Take the Frigid Polar Plunge at Lake Calhoun [Video]

What's the most popular reaction to the feeling of one's skin hitting the frigid waters of Lake Calhoun during the winter? "AHHHH, OH MY GOSH!"

That's just what hundreds of people heard as they gathered in Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon to watch folks shiver their way through Minnesota's largest Polar Plunge of the year.

See also: Frigid Scenes from the Polar Plunge 2014 at Lake Calhoun

The annual tradition brings out thousands of viewers and participants who cannonball into lakes across the state clad in ridiculous costumes, all in the name of charity. Bill Fish, VP of development at Special Olympics Minnesota, estimated that this year's Polar Plunges would raise over $1.3 million for the organization.

According to Fish, the water was about 32.5 degrees this year, which meant that it was actually warmer outside than it was in the water, which isn't always the case when folks are taking the plunge. Regardless of last weekend's warm-up, it didn't make the jump any less chilling.

"It's exhilarating," said one Where's Waldo-clad participant. "You've never felt more alive than when you're freezing to death."

Video production by Todd Wardrope for City Pages.

See more Twin Cities video work at