PRESCOTT VALLEY - More than 20 brave souls took the plunge at Mountain Valley Splash for the Polar Bear Splash on Saturday, Jan. 2. Put on by the Prescott Valley Parks & Recreation Department, the event also had games for the kids, ice cream eating contests, the rubber duck race and the Ice Princess Contest for the hairiest man.
Some of those taking the plunge had never done anything like the Polar Bear Splash before, such as Grant Shiedel. The only thing that came close was when he was a kid in Phoenix, Shiedel said. "We'd go swimming during the wintertime, but it was nowhere near this cold," Sheidel said. "But even then, it was cold."
Others who took the plunge were veterans to the event, like Harley Miner. He participated last year and noted that it was colder then. Ice had to be broken off the pool so the participants could jump in, Miner said.
Prior to the plunge, the Ice Princess contest was held with the hairiest men at the event baring everything in order to win the title. This year's runner up was Jason Oudin and this year's winner was Chris Skoczylas. The latter got involved with the contest because one of his friends was doing it and he figured there was a chance to beat him.
"He was a runner up last year and when I saw the YouTube video of last year's contestants, it was a no brainer," Skoczylas said. "I got more hair on my back than most of them do on their chest."
Most likely, the Ice Princess title will need to be defended next year, Skoczylas said.
Though the water was above freezing, it wasn't by very much. However, even with the frigid temperature, the participants found the plunge enjoyable. After climbing out, Lance Kieren said he was freezing, but called the experience numbing, but wonderful.
There was also Jill Buse. Even though her toes were cold upon exiting, she didn't feel too bad otherwise, she said.
"It was fun," she said. "I'll probably be warm all day because after being in there, the air feels good."
Follow reporter Jason Wheeler on Twitter@PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277.