Twenty-three years ago, Bill Wenmark and seven other men jumped into Lake Minnetonka as part of a 10-mile run to celebrate New Year’s Day. Little did they know their ice dive would become an annual event, with close to 900 people participating last year.
“It’s become a wonderful celebration,” says Wenmark, who will be jumping for his 23rd time next month. The marathon runner is considered an “orca” for the event along with two other running buddies, while first-year jumpers are called guppies. The years in between are named for different sea animals, such as barracudas and sharks.
Ice dive participants jump into a 32-foot-long hole that’s 8 feet wide. After hopping in, they must swim to the end, and getting their hair wet is an absolute necessity. This year, the money raised for the event will go to Semper Fi, which helps soldiers who have been injured in combat and their families, and to local volunteer fire and police departments.
ALARC Ice Dive January 1, 9:30 a.m.; $25; Bayview Event Center, 687 Excelsior Blvd., Excelsior; 952.470.8439