Polar Bear Swim cancelled

The Nelson Rhythm Ropers have decided not to organize the event this year.

Kootenay Lake will just be for scenic pictures on New Year's Day. The annual Polar Bear Swim has been cancelled.

Nelson swimmers will have to settle for a cold shower on New Year’s Day.

The annual Polar Bear Swim at Lakeside Park has been cancelled. The Nelson Rhythm Ropers have organized the event since 2013, but are skipping away from it this year.

Tom Thomson, speaking on behalf of the Ropers, said the swim has become too big and costly for the small organization.

“Although there has been a lot of interest from the community there’s really not much in the way of an opportunity to keep it going from the club’s point of view. … There’s a huge liability situation that’s difficult to get insurance,” said Thomson.

“So when it’s all said and done, a lot of work and not an awful lot of revenue opportunities. It eventually costs money to a group looking after it. So for this year we hope somebody will pick it up, but it’s not an easy thing to try to do this time of year and getting insurance from an insurance company might not be easy.”

Thomson said besides insurance, volunteers are needed to clear snow and keep offer food, while Search and Rescue have to be present in the water.

That said, Thomson said he still wants to see the swim happen.

“If there’s a group out there or an organization that thinks there is still an ability to make it happen, we’d like to see it happen. It’s a fun event, but it’s not easy to pull together. You need a good chunk of people to make this thing fly.”

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