Search Result for : 2017 Polar Bear Swim

VIDEO: West Seattle Polar Bear Swim 2017 leaves hundreds soaked in New Year spirit

(Pre-swim photo by Jacob Nieman – note the crowd size!)

Thanks to everyone who shared photos and video from this morning’s 2017 West Seattle Polar Bear Swim at Alki Beach!

(Photo by Robert Spears)

A good, if frosty, time was had by all, so far as we could tell – 33-degree air, 50-degree water, exactly the same as last year. Here’s our video of this morning’s countdown and run in:

(WSB video by Patrick Sand)

At the start of our clip, the countdown is being led by Mark Ufkes, who organizes this every year – he’s in the next photo with the megaphone:

(Photo by Russ Walker)

Here’s a wider view of the big splash:

(Video by Kendall Browne)

For some, the Polar Bear Swim is a spectator sport – this guy told us he was there to cheer on his 15-year-old daughter, participating for the first time:

(This photo and next 5 are by WSB’s Patrick Sand)

Some of the other sights – maybe the most-formal swimmer (or maybe just hadn’t been home since the NYE party):


Think we saw this dinosaur back on Halloween:


We noted the lampshade in a pre-swim tweet – and spotted it on the beach under someone else’s care:


Another standout hat:


Die-hard Cougar fan:


Maybe a tropical print helped make up for the almost-freezing air:

(Photo by Russ Walker)

Whatever you were or weren’t wearing, there was post-swim chowder, courtesy of nearby Duke’s:

(WSB photo)

And memories that will linger until next New Year’s Day:

(Photo by Robert Spears)

(WSB photo)

(added 7:30 pm) One more video of the big swim – this one is by Anthony Decena:

P.S. Here’s our coverage from previous years:

NEW YEAR’S DAY: West Seattle Polar Bear Swim is on for 2017!

(2016 Alki Polar Bear Swim photo by Scott Nelson)

Just got confirmation that the West Seattle Polar Bear Swim is on again for Sunday (New Year’s Day 2017). From organizer Mark Ufkes:

January 1, 2017, at 9:50 am, polar-bear swimmers will line up along the beach across from Duke’s.

With a countdown, at 10 am sharp we will hold hands with our friends and run into Puget Sound.

Bring water shoes, a towel, a change of clothes and your hopes and dreams for 2017 with you. Also bring the lessons you learned in 2016. Running into the water with friends and family will help you leave behind the complexities of 2016 and start the new year clean and burden-free. We hit the water at 10 sharp.

Thinking about trying it for the first time? Here’s our coverage from last year, including video and links to previous years’ coverage.

West Seattle New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim 2019 at Alki Beach is on!

(January 1, 2018, photo by Robert Spears)

For everyone who’s been asking/wondering about this – Mark Ufkes has just sent the announcement: The West Seattle New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim is on again, January 1, 2019, at Alki Beach:

There is no better way to wash away the complexities of 2018 and usher in the unlimited possibilities that 2019 holds for each of us than to run into Puget Sound, while holding hands with our family and friends and screaming like crazy.

We go into the water at 10 am sharp! Don’t be late.

We gather at 9:45 am on January 1 in front of Duke’s on Alki. We spread out east and west along beautiful Alki Beach in a long line. There will be 10-minute, 5-minute and 1-minute warnings, and at 10 seconds, together, we all begin counting down; 10-9-8-7 . . .

We then yell “Happy New Year,” hold hands with those next to us, and run into the water. It is all over in less than a minute.

Last year, well over 500 participated and a huge crowd cheered us on.

Again this year, all are encouraged to wear something pink into the water. You can wear pink for whatever reason you want; be it to honor your spectacular mom, to honor a dear friend who is fighting cancer, or to celebrate that finally, in 2019, girls will be able to become Eagle Scouts too (Yeah!). For me, I will be wearing pink for all these reasons and because for the first time in U.S. history, a state house legislative body, in Nevada no less, will have a women-majority legislature.

Whatever your personal reason, if you wear something pink into the water you will earn a gift. The first 200 people who wear something pink into the water will receive a free airport-confiscated wine bottle opener corkscrew that I won at a TSA auction. And hey kids, if you wear something pink, your parents must take charge of your free corkscrew and offer you something in trade. After the swim, there will be a table at the beach full of every kind of corkscrew you can imagine. Every swimmer wearing something pink can chose one as a gift.

What you should bring: Good water shoes, a large towel, a change of dry clothes, and your hopes and dreams for 2019.

What you should leave behind: Your fears, your inhibitions, and your self-doubt.

(See our 2018 video/photos here.) Adding to the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide‘s New Year’s Day section along with the New Year’s Eve/Day walk info that’s also just come in – if you have something open to the community that’s happening in West Seattle/White Center/South Park between now and New Year’s Day, there’s still time to send it – – thank you!

VIDEO: See the sea of people who swarmed Alki Beach for New Year’s Day 2018 Polar Bear Plunge

(WSB video/photos unless otherwise credited)

The air was 38 degrees, the water was 46 degrees, and the politics were intermittent at this year’s Alki Beach Polar Bear Plunge.

We mention politics because in case you missed the original announcement, which almost made it onto the WSB Most-Commented-On Stories of 2017 list, longtime organizer Mark Ufkes included a statement that he planned to wear pink into the water in support of, among other things, electing women.

In the ensuing triple-digit comment thread, Mark also made the point that the swim was of course open to all, as always, whatever your politics. But at this morning’s swim, no speeches – just the traditional countdown, followed by a quick en-masse, shrieking run into the water and, for most, a quick run out. Swimmers wore a variety of outfits, from pink, to red-white-and-blue, to sports-fan gear, and more – here’s a sample:

Side note – Organizer Mark also brought corkscrews, free to anybody who wanted one – he explained that he had bid on a batch of unclaimed corkscrews confiscated by the TSA – he thought he was getting 100 but instead received 1,000. (He also bid on Swiss Army-type knives that he obtained and gave to Boy Scouts – he’s a longtime Scoutmaster and parent of Eagle Scouts.) Here’s his pre-swim photo of the corkscrews:

Other sightings at the Polar Bear Swim – offshore spectators:

And just as we got ready to publish this report – two photos from Bob Spears (the second, showing someone who really did plunge rather than run):

(Added) From Bailey – The spirit of Christmas (and more) lingered into New Year’s for this trio:

(Added) Turns out that Alki open-water swimmer Andrew Malinak was in the boat shown a few photos up. We thought we heard sea-lion barking when we arrived at the beach, and one of his photos caught two of the five sea lions he reports counting:

Here are two of his photos from just before, and during, the plunge:

ADDED TUESDAY: From Erik Bell:

Any favorite photos/video to share? – thanks!

P.S. Past years’ WSB coverage:

What you need to know for West Seattle New Year’s Day 2017

(Thanks to Deborah in Highland Park for the photo)

Happy snowy New Year’s Day! Here’s information you might find helpful:


POLAR BEAR SWIM: Gather at 9:50 am along Alki Beach across from Duke’s – everybody in the water at 10 am sharp. (Alki Avenue SW & 58th SW)

NEW YEAR’S LABYRINTH WALK: Noon-2 pm at Our Lady of Guadalupe. (35th SW/SW Myrtle)

OTHER EVENTS TODAY … including special church services … are listed in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide.

FARMERS’ MARKET CLOSED: But it’s back to every-Sunday operation NEXT week, on January 8th.

SEATTLE PARKS FACILITIES: Here’s the closure list.


TRANSIT: Regular Sunday schedules unless the bus is still on a snow route because of the early-morning snowfall. For Metro, check here.

VIDEO: Hundreds launch 2016 with a splash via the West Seattle Polar Bear Swim at Alki Beach

(Video/photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand, unless otherwise credited)
Clear sky, 33-degree air, 50-degree water, and hundreds of cheery participants combined for this year’s West Seattle Polar Bear Swim at Alki Beach this morning. Here’s the leader of the countdown you hear in the video, organizer Mark Ufkes:

He went in wearing his “I (Heart) White Center” T-shirt. As usual, the crowd was peppered with costumes and uniforms – and it’s not a Polar Bear Swim without the softball umpires:

Another group went prehistoric:

The most popular “costume” generally involved head/face gear of some kind:

(This photo and next one by Scott Nelson)
The Olympics provided a beautiful backdrop:

To get the internal temperature back up afterward, free chowder courtesy of Duke’s (right across the street from the gathering spot for the “swim”):

Can’t guarantee the sunshine but the day and time are locked in – so mark your calendar for New Year’s Day 2017!

P.S. Our clip from the sidewalk gives you more of an idea of how many people were on the beach before, during, and after:

Past years’ WSB coverage:

(Reviewing our links, you might be surprised to see it’s been sunny on NYD more often than not!)

UPDATE: West Seattle snow to start the new year

5:10 AM: In the past few hours, we’ve seen half an inch or so of snow here in Upper Fauntleroy, east of Lincoln Park. At least, that’s how much has stuck to cars, fence tops, and planting strips. More is falling, but it’s also melting in the street – audibly, by the storm drains – and driving down toward The Junction was no problem. It’s still snowing lightly, and the National Weather Service‘s 3 am “forecast discussion” says: “The Seattle metro will continue to see a threat of snow through the morning as the back edge of a band (currently over the San Juans and Skagit) pushes south. A trace to 1/2″ of snow is possible…with up to 1″ at the high end.” South of here, the NWS says, they’ve seen more.

5:17 AM: Buses are on snow routes around King County, including here, according to Metro’s website. West Seattle is in what Metro calls the South Seattle zone, so you can use that to sort the updates on this page.

6 AM: Sounds (and looks) from comments so far that eastern/southern West Seattle is snowiest.

(Added: Photo from Mike R. in Arbor Heights)

8:41 AM: From Metro:

8:51 AM: And now the C Line is back to its regular route too.

9:46 AM: Looks like little if any snow on Alki, at least as seen by our crew in photographing Polar Bear Swimmers on the way to the 10 am event (the lampshade caught our attention):


No more snow in the forecast so far, but it’s expected to be cold for the next few days, highs in the 30s, lows in the 20s.

West Seattle Holiday Guide

November 12, 2016 12:32 pm
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Holiday Guide

(Thanks to Wyatt’s Jewelers for sponsoring the WSB Holiday Guide again this year!)

Updated 12/31/2018: Welcome to this year’s WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide! Holiday event or venue missing? Please let us know ASAP so we can add it!


(Needle fireworks in the fog, photographed by Ryan O’Keven)

10 PM LIGHT SHOW, MIDNIGHT FIREWORKS: Visible from any place in West Seattle where you can see the Space Needle! This year a half-hour laser-light show at 10 pm is being added to the annual midnight fireworks.

RESTAURANTS THAT ARE OPEN: Here’s our updated holiday list including who’s open New Year’s Eve and/or Day! PLEASE let us know about changes – -thanks!

NOT-SO-SILENT-NIGHT PARADE & NEW YEAR’S PARTY: Highland Park Improvement Club‘s New Year’s Eve parade starts at 6 pm!

That kicks off a night-long party at HPIC, which celebrates 100 years in 2019! (1116 SW Holden)

NYE DINNER @ ITTO’S: Two sessions for a special New Year’s Eve dinner at Itto’s Tapas (WSB sponsor) – see the prix-fixe menu and make reservations by going here. (4160 California SW)

THE ALLEY: The Junction’s new bar plans a New Year’s Eve party:

Exclusive entry for the night.
Complimentary selected bites from our kitchen coursed out through the night.
Cocktail and sparkling wine specials all night.
Champagne toast at midnight.

Tickets now on sale – go here. (4509 California SW)


We are having our 6th annual Family Party at South Park Hall from 7-9 pm. $10/person over 2 years old. Each kid gets access to the hot cocoa bar and a gift bag. We will have a count down on the big screen with the East Coast and music.

(1053 S. Cloverdale)

WALKS FOR NEW YEAR’S EVE/DAY: As announced by Emerald City Wanderers:

Walking is a great way to enjoy New Year’s Eve and Day with family, friends and other kindred spirits. We’ll have 5 and 10 kilometer walks on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, different routes each day. And there’ll be hot soup and snacks to chase away the chills. Walks start on New Year’s Eve, Monday, December 31, anytime between 4 and 7 PM, and on New Year’s Day, Tuesday, January 1, between 9 AM and 12 noon, at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in West Seattle. No fee for the walks, which are noncompetitive.

The New Year’s Eve 5 kilometer route winds through the holiday lights in the Admiral neighborhood and Junction. The 10 kilometer route also enjoys neighborhood holiday lights, heads down to Alki and features the lights on and around Puget Sound, Elliott Bay and downtown Seattle. Flashlights helpful.

On New Year’s Day, the 5 and 10 kilometer routes take walkers through North Admiral, enjoying a number of viewpoints looking over Elliott Bay. 10K walkers will walk down to Jack Block Park and enjoy the spectacular outlook.

This event is hosted by the Emerald City Wanderers and St John the Baptist Episcopal Church, and is sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association. Information about volkssports will be available.

(Start at 3050 California SW)

SKYLARK NYE PARTY: Doors at 8:30 pm – $10 cover – includes champagne toast. Details here. (3803 Delridge Way SW)

PARLIAMENT TAVERN NYE PARTY: 9 pm – $11 advance tickets here.

Join Parliament Tavern on Monday, December 31st for a good old fashioned NYE blowout with deep funk pioneer Lucky Brown and his West Seattle compatriots Cecil Moses & the SGs!!! We’re going to dance, party, toast and roast with a good fortune ritual and celebration to end all good fortune rituals and celebrations!!! Wear red for good luck! Champagne toast @ midnight! Tarot readings by Lady Viveka in the parlor!

December 31, 9 pm. 21+

(4210 SW Admiral Way)

GREAT AMERICAN DINER AND BAR: “Flashback will be performing ’60s & ’70s music starting at 8:00 PM (until late). No cover, no minimum, no purchase necessary. Food & drink available.” UPDATE: Band canceled due to illness. (4752 California SW)

OTHER JUNCTION VENUES: Music, midnight toasts – here’s a list compiled by the West Seattle Junction Association.


NEW YEAR’S DAY POLAR BEAR SWIM AT ALKI: Be on the beach across from Duke’s by 9:45 am – the swim/plunge/etc. happens at 10 sharp! Here’s the announcement we published 12/21/18.

NEW YEAR’S DAY YOGA: 10 am-noon at SoundYoga (WSB sponsor) – register in advance – info is in our calendar listing. (5639 California SW)

NEW YEAR’S DAY NIA: Dance to greet 2019:

Move2Center Studio, located at 3618 SW Alaska St (in the lower level of the West Seattle Veterans building), is hosting its One-Year Anniversary New Year’s Day celebration with a special Nia class on Tuesday, January 1, at 10 am.

We’re creating a 75-minute playlist to help people dance in 2019 with positive energy. As a token of gratitude to our Nia community, all current passholders with our studio can dance for free. Newcomers can enjoy a drop-in fee of $10. Special discount deals will be available to attendees as well!

More info at, or email

NEW YEAR’S DAY POLAR BEAR SWIM: Yes, it’s on – here’s the announcement we received and published December 21st. Be on the beach across from Duke’s at 9:45; everybody in the water at 10! (Here’s our video/photo coverage from last NYD.)


THROUGH NEW YEAR’S Thanksgiving was the first night for West Seattle Lights, light shows programmed to synch to music. See the nightly schedule by going here, and watch that website for updates! (3908 SW Charlestown)

THROUGH NEW YEAR’S: The Menashe Family Lights are the biggest and brightest display in West Seattle.

(WSB photo from 2015)

(5605 Beach Drive SW)

THROUGH JANUARY 1: West Seattle Yuletide is back – here’s an update! (4120 38th SW)

DECORATED HOUSES: We’ve been spotlighting some – scroll through here to see!


CLOTHING DRIVE: Collecting for West Seattle Helpline:

Dave Newman State Farm Insurance agency will continue to collect clean donations of clothes, coats and shoes until January 1st. For undergarments and socks please donate only new and unopened packages of clothing items. The dropoff location is 3435 California Ave SW. For those who have donations but are unable to transport their clothes, coats and shoes to the donation location pickup may be available. For further information contact the State Farm office at 206-932-1878.

Donate Now – We are currently hosting our annual coat drive for the West Seattle Helpline.
Please drop by the office with any gently used warm clothing items you may have.

(3435 California SW)

(Tree and donation box at Northwest Insurance Group)


CURBSIDE TREES/GREENS: Here’s the info provided by SPU.


RAINBOW GIRLS’ DROPOFF FUNDRAISER: West Seattle Assembly #18 Rainbow Girls will collect trees for recycling Sunday, January 6, 2019, 10 AM to 2 PM. Alki Masonic Center parking lot. Dropoff by donation. (40th/Edmunds)



To end the 12 days of Christmas be sure to join us on –

Sunday, January 6, 2019
The Day of Epiphany

8:00 am Holy Eucharist, in the chapel
10:30 am Holy Eucharist, in the nave
8:00 pm Compline, in the chapel

Let us know what else you want to see listed here, and/or what’s missing!