News / Calgary

Calgarians take polar plunge to help combat global sex trade

The 9th annual dive challenges the bravest to go for a freezing dip

More than 100 divers took part in the Ice Breaker Polar Plunge on New Year's Day, 2018.

Aaron Chatha / Metro

More than 100 divers took part in the Ice Breaker Polar Plunge on New Year's Day, 2018.

New Year’s Eve was so cold that that city moved celebrations inside. Officials put out an extreme cold warning. Even the zoo's penguins were brought inside.

But did all that cause even a little hesitation for this year’s plungers in the annual Ice Breaker Polar Dip on New Year’s Day?

“Not at all,” laughed Calgarian Lance Armstrong. “Penguins are weak.”

This year more than 100 divers helped raise money for the Servant Anonymous Foundation, which provides long-term recovery programs to survivors of sexual exploitation, and works to prevent human trafficking in countries around the world.

Divers raise funds, and in return jumped into a freezing cold lake in Elbow Valley.

Officials cut a sizable chunk out of the ice for divers to reach the water. Many did so in an amusing costume as well.

“It was a roller coaster of sensations – when you dive in, it wasn’t that cold actually,” exclaimed Madeline Maes, freshly emerged from the waters. “But as soon as your head is out of the water it’s like, oh, actually I can’t inhale.”

In total, this year’s divers raised more than $88,000 for Servant’s Anonymous.

“I can’t imagine what those people go through, to do some small little thing to make a difference for them, it’s amazing. This is nothing,” said Melody Armstrong, who dived in with her husband. “People were so generous. I was totally blown away by how many people responded to my request (for donations). It was amazing.”

For more information about the Ice Breaker, visit

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