Hearty souls across the Northeast and Midwest often raise money for charity each season by risking frostbite, hypothermia, and frozen nose hairs to take part in the insane ritual known as the polar plunge. For the record, jumping into a freezing body of water doesn’t make you tough, it just makes you look like… a charitable person. The people of Iron Mountain in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula—where the average annual snowfall is more than five feet—have put a smarter and healthier twist on the polar plunge. They’re making an old Saturn do it.
The car plunge is the fifth hosted by the Rotary Club of Iron Mountain-Kingsford. A bright orange 1998 Saturn sedan now sits on the ice covering the East Chapin Pit, a local caved-in, water-filled mine. As spring nears and the temperatures rise, the Saturn will eventually fall through the ice.
For a $10 donation to the Rotary, participants get three guesses as to when the sedan will break through. The person who guesses closest to the actual month, date, and time the car plunges will win $1500. The remaining funds go to charity.
Students at the Dickinson-Iron Technical Education Center have altered the car so that it is environmentally safe. The engine, transmission, powertrain, battery, radiator, fluid coolers, master brake cylinder, and heater hoses have been removed, as have oil, grease, road grime, and other vehicle contaminants. The students also painted and lettered the car. The vehicle will be removed after it falls through the ice by using a 3/8-inch diameter steel wire rope attached to the rear of the car and winching it out.
Deadline to enter is March 15; participants must be 18 or older. Click here to give it a whirl. For reference, previous cars have sunk on April 4, 2015 at 5:41; March 17, 2016 at 1:57 p.m.; April 2, 2017 at 4:07 p.m.; and April 26, 2018 at 10:40 a.m.
You can watch video of the 2018 plunge here. To keep an eye on the 2019 plunge, watch the live webcam. For the sake of the entire community, which has already experienced its share of snow, ice, and frigid temperatures this winter, we hope the thaw and eventual plunge happens sooner rather than later.