WARNING: There are risks associated with going into an icy pond on January 1 anywhere in Canada. The temperature of the water and the surrounding environment may be extremely cold. You should consult your physician prior to engaging in this event. Individuals who are pregnant, or have poor cardiac functioning, or suffer from a seizure disorder should not participate. You must be 18 years of age or older to participate in the Polar Dip.

Why dip?:

  1. Help raise awareness that slavery still exists today!
  2. Raise critical funds for the SA Foundation and their work caring for victims and their children.
  3. Team building activity.
  4. Bucket list.
  5. Fun.

Regardless of your reason, we want to help you have an amazing dip experience. The following information is essential to help us do so.

What to do before dip day:

  1. Follow us: Facebook , Instagram and Twitter to receive regular updates.  Check your emails, make sure you allow emails from naomi@safoundation.com and info@icebreaker.com for important dip day info.
  2. Tell all your friends what you are doing and why. Use the information we sent you during registration and share posts from all our social media accounts. Collect donations (cheques to SA Foundation, use the pledge form we sent you) or send people to your profile page.
  3. Give out the Christmas cards we sent you and ask for donations in lieu of gifts this year. Need more? Let us know.
  4. Plan your costume.
  5. Gather a team.
  6. Invite friends and family to come watch.
  7. If anyone can help find/donate some prizes for the dip, we'd be most grateful. Looking for donated items over a $25 value.

Below is important dip day information on:

1. Where to go

2. What to bring

3. What to expect on dip day


1.  Where to go:

Elbow Valley Residents Club (scroll over to see map and get directions) to 100 Misty Morning Drive, Elbow Valley. 

Park in the lot (or get dropped off at the Residents Club building. Volunteers will be on hand to give parking assistance. Parking is limited. Carpool or plan on walking. 

Proceed to the Residents Club building to register. Enjoy a coffee on us. Once you have registered, and left the items as outlined below, you will be given further information about where to go.

2.  What to Bring!

  • Your costume for dipping
  • A large towel
  • *A thick towel / bathrobe/ parka that you’ll put on immediately after the dip (and you don’t mind it getting a little wet)
  • *Pledge form with money and cheques collected (make sure donor info is legible) 
  • Toque, gloves, anything else you want to put on immediately after the dip
  • Optional: think of a one (1) line intro (written out) that will be read before you jump (you will submit this at registration) 
  • A pair of shoes or aqua socks to be worn to get you to, in, and out of dip. (No flip flops or anything else that would come off in the water.)
  • If you’ll be wearing glasses, a strap to secure them during dip. Same goes for GoPro.
  • **Optional – for hot tub users – sandals or slippers to get from hot tub into the clubhouse (assuming you won’t want to put your freezing dip shoes back on).
  • **Your friend – especially for hot tubs users

[Note: All items with an asterisk (*) will be handed in at the Registration table. Your post dip item (towel/robe/ parka) will be ready for you when you come out of the water.]

[Note: All items with two (**) asterisks, are for those who plan to use the hot tubs before changing into street clothes.]

3. What to Expect on Dip Day:

January 1st – before leaving home - Check out the message feed at www.calgaryicebreaker.com  or Facebook or Twitter or Instagram to catch any late breaking news before leaving for the dip site.

3.1   Before leaving home:

  • A large towel or a bathrobe or parka will be your best friend afterwards. You will check this in at the Registration table. This item will be be waiting for you when you exit the water. (Please limit this to one item.) I cannot stress the bathrobe or parka enough, especially IF you are going to walk up to the hot tubs (see Instructions for Hot Tubs, below).
  • CLOTHING/CHANGING. You have two options. Option #1. Leave your change of clothes in the Residents Club in the designated changing areas. Leave valuables in the car or with a friend. Only wear basic clothing on top of your costume to walk down to the dip site i.e. jacket, toque and of course the shoes you will wear to dip. When you come out of the hot tub your clothes are inside waiting for you. Option #2. Carry everything down to the dip site. This option works well if you do NOT plan to run up to the hot tubs after. Change and leave your clothes in the heated mens/ladies tents provided at the dip site. After dipping you run back to the tent and change there. Nice and toasty.
  • Clothing tips – Don’t wear so much when dipping that it slows you down. A bathing suit and light costume is plenty. Anything long i.e. capes, veils, long skirts can go over your head making it hard to swim. Keep in mind, this is a family friendly event - MODEST IS HOTTEST. See our past videos for great costume ideas: http://calgaryicebreaker.com/gallery/
  • Dress-up! There is a prize for the most original, outrageous Dipster outfit. Come colourful, come creative! Wear this UNDER your clothes. You do not need to undress until just before it’s your turn to dip. The key is to stay warm while you wait!
  • Prizes will be given after at the Clubhouse for: #1 most funds raised #2 best costume #3 best dip intro #4 best dip (safe, no flips) entry #5 best team entry #6 best distance dip so be sure to stick around
  • Dress for the outdoors! Plan to wear layers that you can put on quickly after the dip (i.e. a dry parka, hat, gloves, boots, long underwear, fleece, etc.). Stay away from cotton, which does not wick moisture away from your body.
  • Make sure to bring an old pair of running shoes or “aqua socks” to wear into the water to prevent cuts from the rocks and to stop your feet from sticking to any snow or ice on the shore (remember the frozen tongue on the pole?). DO NOT wear flip-flops, which will come off in the water. Protect your feet! That will help a lot. Also, you will need to keep your shoes on if you are planning to walk (run) to the hot tub.
  • If you are going to hot tub, bring a friend to hold items and jockey them to the hot tub site and into the nearest changing area afterwards.
  • Tell your friend (who is holding items) and any other friends you’ve brought, that they must stay in the viewing area during the dip.
  • If you wear glasses, make sure to bring a strap to secure them so you won’t lose them in the pond. Same for Go-Pros.

3.2   Go to the Dip Site:

LOCATION! Elbow Valley Residents Club Address: 100 Misty Morning Drive, Elbow Valley. From the intersection of 69th St SW & Hwy 8: Head west (7.2 km); Turn left at lights on Lott Ck. Blvd. (0.4 km); Turn right on Lott Ck. Dr. 1.6 km. Follow the road as it winds, go past Fisherman’s Bend. It is your next right, Misty Morning Drive.  Volunteers will be on hand to direct parking.

Important: Arrive there by 11:45 AM to ensure you have time to register. REGISTRATION CUT OFF IS 12:45 PM.

3.3   Register at the Clubhouse and:

  • Hand over your signed waiver form (if you haven’t already submitted it via email info@calgaryicebreaker.com). Remember: We MUST have your signed waiver before you can take the dip. We will have blank ones available.
  • Get a Dipster wristband. Wrist bands are to identify that dipsters have signed the waiver and are fully registered.
  • Turn in your pledge form with any funds raised (donor contact info must be legible for a tax receipt).
  • Get your dip number on your hand. This is important because this IS the order number in which you’ll dip. If you plan to dip in a group, register together in a group. (Groups should be kept fairly small. Only 2 at a time can go up the stairs out of the water.)
  • Hand in to Registration your towel or bathrobe. This item will be waiting for you as you get out of the water. (The number on your hand will correspond with the number on the bag that has been provided for your item.) Your change of clothes, you will take down yourself and put in one of the tents for after unless you plan to hot tub, see Hot Tub Instructions, below.
  • Submit your one line introduction IF you have not already emailed this to the Registrar or posted it on your profile page. This is what will be announced before you jump. It can be your age, the number of times you have jumped, why you have jumped, or who you are jumping with. Keep it short, please. One line only will be read!

3.4   Go to the Dipster area and stay warm.

  • We’ll give you last minute instructions on site. The first Dipster will lead off at 1:00pm sharp (if all is well). We do move fairly quickly, so be ready to undress quickly when instructed. We will try and give you a 5 minute heads up when you are to be “on deck.” Please instruct your viewers to stay behind marked areas.

3.5   Do the Dip!

  • Make a splash and smile! NO DIVING! (The water is potentially about 4 - 5 feet deep.)
  • Friendly divers in dry suits will help you safely and swiftly exit the cold water. There may be steps to exit the dip area that will accommodate two people climbing out at the same time (with others close behind!).
  • You do NOT need a helper this year. We will have volunteers help you out of the water, give you your towel/bathrobe and help you back to the changing tent. However, if you plan to use the hot tub, have your friend on stand by with your stuff to run with you to the hot tubs (see Hot Tub Instructions, below).
  • You can dip together with a friend! Caution: if more than 2 people are dipping together, it may take a bit longer for everyone to get out quickly. (Generally best for 2 people to dip at a time.)

3.6   Congratulations!

You are now a veteran Dipster! Please plan to hang around and cheer on the other dipsters and stay for the post-dip party at the clubhouse. Snacks and hot drinks will be provided afterwards. Prizes will be given out in the upper level of the clubhouse for those who won the prize categories, a half hour after the last Dipster, plan to hang around.

Bring your kids along, get your picture taken with Breaker the Bear. We will provide coffee, hot chocolate, light snacks for Dipsters, Dipster families and volunteers.  Find colouring activities for the kids upstairs in the Clubhouse. Feel free to bring other activities for the kids. There is also a playground for the kids, if it’s not too cold.

Help us promote the event by posting your pictures and selfies with Breaker. Use hashtags #calgaryicebreaker #cooltobecold #dipordonate #safoundation #oldguysinaction

3.7   Hot Tub Instructions

There are three, 6 person hot tubs located beside the clubhouse. This is about 300 feet from the dip site and changing tents (but easy access to the clubhouse). IF you want to hot tub right after your dip, this is what you need to do:

  • Follow steps 3.1 through 3.3, above;
  • Give your friend the rest of your personal items (other than what you handed in at registration) for changing into after the dip, as well as the sandals or slippers that you will wear from the hot tub into the clubhouse.
  • Once you have done the dip, as per items 3.4 & 3.5 above, volunteers will help you out of the water and hand you your own towel/ bathrobe, then …
  • Walk (run) up to the hot tubs (about 300 feet away). Be sure you are wearing good shoes for the dip so that you can carry on up to the hot tubs without stopping.
  • Meet your friend at the hot tub or have them walk/run up with you. You will have communicated to this friend earlier that they will need to be there with your dry clothes for changing into. You do not want to waste a minute afterwards.
  • Important:Remove shoes before entering hot tub. (Have your friend ensure they are collected for you.)
  • After soaking and warming up, you can change in the clubhouse. Have your friend give you your sandals or slippers for the walk into to the clubhouse.

Important: Please be courteous in the length of time you spend in the hot tub if there are others waiting to get in. Thanks!

(You may be asked by volunteers – or desperate dippers – to make room if you’ve been in there awhile.)

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Q: Will you go ahead with the dip regardless of the temperature and weather conditions?
    A: Yes. Some of us will, regardless. Don’t feel pressured to dip if the weather conditions are outside your personal “comfort” zone.
  • Q: Will there be medical people on hand?
    A: Yes. Limited but qualified emergency staff will be on hand.
  • Q: Is it cold?
    A: YES!
  • Q: Can children participate?
    A: Not in the dip, (must be 18 and up) but they are welcome to come and cheer you on and witness your courage.
  • Q: What if I have more questions?
    A: Please contact us at info@calgaryicebreaker.com or call/text Naomi at 1-403-636-1419.
See you on dip day! If you have any questions, call or text any of the event organizers:


Naomi Holland, Project Coordinator for SA Foundation 1-403-636-1419

Ross Weaver, co-founder of OGIA and event organizer 403-651-0005

Calgary Dipping Weather
broken clouds
humidity: 85%
wind: 4m/s WSW

Content © Calgary Icebreaker Polar Dip