Take the plunge to support residents battling cancer

The annual Spirit Polar Plunge in Grand Lake will raise funds for the volunteer group Taking Steps For Cancer

Making a splash: Participants leap into the icy lake to swim for a cause during the 2022 Spirit Polar Plunge.
Meg Soyars/Sky-Hi News

Every summer in Grand Lake, a group of costumed participants take a plunge into the icy lake. The celebratory day is for a cause – aside from seeing who is brave enough to dive into the water. The Spirit Polar Plunge supports Grand County residents who are battling cancer.

This year’s Spirit Polar Plunge will be on June 25. All proceeds raised from the event go to the Taking Steps for Cancer Fund, which is operated by the nonprofit Mountain Family Center. Taking Steps is composed solely of volunteers who sacrifice their time and resources throughout the year.

The Spirit Polar Plunge is one of Taking Step’s biggest fundraisers of the year, but people don’t have to get wet to participate. People can sign up to be “chickens,” who stay on the shore to cheer on the “plungers,” who dive into the lake.

Everyone can participate in the festivities, which include a pre-party at Charlie’s Sports Bar & Grill. There will be a taco buffet and live music from local piano entertainer Mark Johnson. Attendees are encouraged to get decked out in their favorite outfits, since there will be a costume contest.

The Polar Plunge will also feature contests for the most money raised and the largest team. Then the “plungers” will splash into the water at Gene Stover Lakefront Park, in solidarity with those affected by cancer.

Through four yearly fundraisers, Taking Steps helps residents offset the costs of cancer treatment. Since no cancer treatment is available in Grand County, residents must travel long distances for care. Thanks to Taking Steps and Mountain Family Center, residents can be reimbursed for travel-related expenses like gas, lodging and meals, as well massage therapy at Blue Sky Massage in Winter Park. Residents can receive up to $5,000 per year in reimbursement.

In 2022, the Taking Steps Fund assisted 32 individuals. In 2023 to date, the fund has assisted 28 individuals.

Registration for the Spirit Polar Plunge fills up fast; register at Contact Judy Eberly at for information on the event. And if you need assistance from the cancer fund, please contact Katie Stuvel at 970-557-3186 or

Polar Plunge schedule and tickets

  • Noon – Pre-party at Charlie’s Sports Bar & Grill, $50.
  • 2:30 p.m. – Plunge into Grand Lake at Gene Stover Lakefront Park, $25.
John Saunders, the “Highlander,” raises his sword in triumph during the 2022 Polar Plunge. Saunders won first place in the costume contest.
Meg Soyars/Sky-Hi News

Editor’s note: Meg Soyars works for Mountain Family Center.

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