ST. LOUIS – A Santa suit, a ski-board and a freezing river on a five-degree day. You might be questioning these guys' decision-making skills, but this is actually a tradition. It's part of the New Year's Day Polar Bear Ski.
Do you have to be a little bit crazy to do this sort of thing? We asked the organizer and U.S. Waterski Champion, Kevin Day.
"I think so,” said Kevin Day, the organizer and U.S. Water Ski Champion. “Today we do, because today breaks my record."
Every year, for 32 years now, Day takes out his jet ski on New Year's Day. And, with a couple of very brave friends, and even Santa Clause himself, they water-skied on the Riverfront of the Mississippi with the Arch as their backdrop.
“Lots of layers,” suggested Jim Mills, one of the Polar Bear Skiers. “Don't stay in the water for very long."
The event raises money for the Missouri Disabled Water Ski Association, an organization that supports disabled athletes and The Wounded Warrior Project.
After it was all over, Jimmy Mills, a participant, emerged from the water saying, “You wouldn't believe this, I'm fine!"
“Little scary at first with the big chunks of ice,” explained another Polar Bear Skier, Anthony Fussner.
The nerves did appear to subside. There was even talk of next year's event, too.
"I just started this two years ago when my wife got me this dry suit so now it'll be an annual tradition,” said Fussner.
The money raised will support a special event sponsored by the Missouri Disabled Waterski Association. That will be at Creve Coeur Lake in the summer.