New Year's Plunge West-Coast Style

Several New Year's Day dips planned for SoCal beaches, and at least one pool

Whoever keeps count of the reasons they make fun of Southern Californians might wish to dedicate a slot to the annual Glacier Slide Polar Bear Swim in the sunny LA suburb of Santa Clarita.

Oh, and while we're at it, we might as well add the Huntington Beach Pier Polar Plunge, and the La Jolla Polar Bear Swim, and the Venice Penguin Swim Club, and the Cabrillo Beach Polar Bear Swim, and …

You get the idea.

No doubt. After enduring the lows of 2008, we could all probably use the jolt of a crisp New Year's Day plunge, but aside from a few faint goosebumps, and maybe the risk of a viral infection from all the recent storm runoff into the Pacific, the experience is hardly a measure of one's mettle, which is precisely why all this makes us Los Angelenos look a little silly to our East Coast counterparts, particularly to groups like the Coney Island Polar Bear Club.

Founded more than 100 years ago, the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, or kooks for short, regularly welcome the new year with an early afternoon dip in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean, which can get as cold as 33 degrees Fahrenheit (as for the wind-chill factor … fuggetaboutit). The Coney Island group and others up and down that coast will conduct these insane activities again this year.

Out here in Santa Clarita, however, we'll be wading into ... the Aquatic Center Waterslide Pool.

Doors open at 8:30 a.m. Cost of admission is $5. Coffee and donuts will be provided. Participants get a limited edition Polar Bear Club beanie.

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