The Kinsmen Kermodei Bear Swim participants make a mad dash for the lake at the mass start at Kin Kamp Jan 1. At far left

Jump in the lake

Forty-six people take the plunge into the new year at Lakelse Lake and the 23rd annual Kinsmen Kermodei Bear Swim.

In only the third time in 16 years, the annual Kermodei Bear Swim saw people take the plunge with a snow-free beach and ice-free lake at Kin Kamp on Lakelse Lake on New Year’s Day.

Forty-six people, some decked out in costumes, braved the spitting rain to start their year in the cold water.

“It was an easy job for Terrace Search and Rescue since they didn’t have to drill a hole in the ice,” said organizer Louis Bibaud.

With no snow to slow things down, swimmers lined up on the grass above the beach surrounded by spectators bundled up against the spitting rain and ran into the water for a mass start.

There was a lot of screaming,” said Bibaud about the temperature of the water.

I had my hands in the water the day before and it was cold.”

This first fundraiser of the year for the Kinsmen raised $5,600 in pledges.

Sherri Hamer raised the most money in pledges at $501.

Best costume went to Cedar Butler and Megan Alexander for dressing as Dr. Seuss characters Thing 1 and Thing 2, complete with bright blue hair.

Groups who took part included 10 Terrace Bluebacks swimmers, nine members of Caledonia girls basketball and four from scouts.

Afterward, participants could warm up with hotdogs and smokies at the canteen.

The previous two times the swim saw no snow and ice that Bibaud remembers were 1998 and sometime in the early 2000s.