There's nothing like a plunge in an icy lake on Jan. 1 to start the New Year off right. In Northern New Mexico, two lakes have played host to a couple of long, venerable Polar Bear Plunge events: Storrie Lake State Park and Eagle Nest Lake State Park. The $5 per vehicle fee is the only entry fee to each event.
The New Year's Day Polar Bear Challenge at Eagle Nest Lake State Park is one of a few Jan. 1 events sponsored by Friends of Eagle Nest Lake. Registration for the Polar Bear Plunge begins at 9 a.m. and the lake plunge is at 10 a.m.
When receding lake levels forced cancellation of the plunge in 2014, organizers came up with a new event that has continued, the Polar Bear Stomp. The stomp is a hiking or snowshoeing trek around nearby trails. This year the stomp begins begins at 11 a.m. with registration at 9 a.m. Now polar bears who've plunged can warm up with a stomp.
Or, those who take the 10 a.m. plunge at Eagle Nest can hop in a car with their cup of hot chocolate and do a twofer by driving over to the Polar Bear Plunge at Storrie Lake and taking a dip at high noon. The Storrie Lake Polar Bear Plunge began sometime in the 1990s, with some participants never missing a year since. Now, one can find three generations of families taking the cold dunk together before heading out to warm up with a hot meal at local Las Vegas eateries.
Take a chance, take the plunge. But clear it with your doctor first.
Before making the drive, call the state park offices to ensure no changes to the events. Call Eagle Nest Lake State Park at (575) 377-1594. Call Storrie Lake State Park at (505) 425-7278.