The Polar Plunge 2012

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The Polar Plunge ain't for cold-weather wimps. Now in its 29th year, the New Year's Day event -- an Alzheimer's Association of Colorado fundraiser -- invites brave souls to participate in a freezing-water dive at the Boulder Reservoir. Bathing suits are a must, but jumpers are also encouraged to get creative. Past participants' costumes have included guys in rubber-ducky ensembles, women in wedding dresses, and last year, a homemade cardboard remake of the Titanic, complete with a crack down the middle.

"The plunge is a really unique way to advocate," says Cailin Branchford, spokeswoman for the Young Professionals Alzheimer's Association of Colorado, a nonprofit that took over plunge-hosting duties in 2005. Branchford says something else that sets the Boulder edition apart from others across the country is hot tubs. Yes, as jumpers exit the below-zero reservoir, they will be greeted with a hot-water warm-up, along with beverages and snacks. -- Bree Davies

Photos by Brandon Marshall.