It has become an anti-couch-potato battle cry that started in a single living room and has swept through British Columbia, and then crept south of the 49th Parallel into Washington State.
Winter Challenge 2014 began as a Winter Fun Challenge from Kura Jack to her videogame-addicted cousins.
“At first I wanted to go sledding, and nobody wanted to go sledding, and I thought that was so crazy,” she told ChekTV News of Vancouver Island. She challenged them to go outside and make snow angels—in their bathing suits. “We posted it to Facebook and then nominated some of our cousins to do it…. And then it just went from there.”
Along with expanding in geographical scope, the challenge has morphed into taking any kind of plunge, no matter what form the water is in—liquid, fluffy or chunky—and getting a move on. Then you challenge the next person. They have 24 hours to comply.
This is more than a simple polar plunge, and it has spread beyond the sofa to principals, chiefs, elders and even entire police forces. They are making snow angels in their bathing suits, leaping into frigid nighttime waters in bikinis and diving off docks in the pouring rain.
“24 hours or I’m telling all your biggest secrets, and I’m YouTubing it,” said one bikini-clad and tattooed woman, faux-glaring into the camera as she emerged from the water and wrapped herself in a towel in this clip from GlobalTV in Canada.
The phenomenon has hit the northwestern United States as well, specifically the Tulalip Tribe and the police forces of the Suquamish Tribe, who then challenged Lummi Nation police.
“Let’s do it, let’s get it done!” shouted one Suquamish police officer after taking his plunge.
“That’s the way we do it,” said another, staring straight at the camera in the video posted to Facebook.
Up in B.C. the police were also called on, most notably Wade Grant, Vancouver Police Department aboriginal liaison officer, who got in on the fun as well.
One gentleman did not mince words. He went into a tiny ice hole cursing and popped out proclaiming, "That was kind of stupid."
Nadya Kwandibens set her sights high by nominating A Tribe Called Red, the 1491s and Wab Kinew before jumping into Okanagan Lake in Westbank, Canada.
Kinew and A Tribe Called Red were not the only musical acts to get tapped. Acclaimed guitarist Gabriel Ayala found himself nominated even though, as he pointed out, “unfortunately I live in the desert.” But even he found a way and posted the results on Facebook.
Clayton Thomas-Muller had the opposite problem.
“Now as you can see, there’s no frickin’ water around here, and what water there is three feet thick under ice,” said the Cree from Pukatawagan First Nation in Manitoba, “and I don't have an axe. I just flew in from Ottawa so I'm gonna jump in this snowbank under here.”
Without further ado he ripped off his "Got Land? Thank an Indian!" hoodie and dove into said snowbank au natural. He then had a few nominations of his own, including another for Kinew.
On Thursday March 6, Tulalip Tribal Chairman Melvin Sheldon answered the call.
“As you can see I have tried to dress appropriately to jump in the water today,” he said in his video of the event, showing off his “designer” Seahawks-logoed sweats and issuing a challenge of his own. “I want to issue a winter challenge to those up at the administrative building.”
Then, to the sound of pounding rain, he leaped off the edge of the pier.