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‘Your Adventure, Your Way’: Special Olympics Launches Snowshoe, Sledding Event

fun on Feb. 20 at Pinehurst replaces typical Polar Plunge

Rebecca Mennecke |

Grab your snowsuit and your sled (or snowshoes) for the Special Olympics wintertime fundraiser, which is happening Saturday, Feb. 20. (Submitted photo)
Grab your snowsuit and your sled (or snowshoes) for the Special Olympics wintertime fundraiser, happening Saturday, Feb. 20. (Submitted photo)

Find adventure your way at this year’s Special Olympic Snowshoe and Sledding event on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 11am-1pm at Pinehurst Park in Eau Claire.

“It’s just to show support for Special Olympics in a different way,” said Alyse Peters, director of special events for Special Olympics.

Typically, Special Olympics hosts its annual Polar Plunge in late winter, complete with changing tents and hot tubs for folks to hop into after taking the chilly plunge. However, considering the ongoing pandemic, “It was just a lot of different points of contact and risk,” Peters said. “We thought by shifting to a sledding event with a snowshoe option … it allowed people to social distance a little bit more.”

This year’s event will have four different options: Enjoy the Great Outdoors (encompassing the Pinehurst Park event), Cozy Up & Chill At Home (with a ton of virtual options!), Flex My Cool School, and Support An Adventurer, which offers folks and families different ways to support Special Olympics Wisconsin and their mission of supporting 19 Olympic-type sports hosted year round, as well as free health-care screenings. This creates prolific opportunities for more than 9,000 folks with intellectual disabilities to race forward.

For the sledding and snowshoe event, BYOS (bring your own sled) and free snowshoe rentals will be available. Register online ahead of time for free and raise $75 to participate (and get a cool long-sleeved shirt)! For $250, snag a Carhartt beanie with the long-sleeved tee. For $500, snag a towel and a tee. Raise $1,000 and you can grab an Under Armour sweatshirt and tee. For $1,500, snag a Columbia jacket and tee. For $2,000, you get everything!

“The fundraising for Polar Plunge helps keep our programming going throughout the year,” Peters said, “regardless of what it looks like.”

There’s also a virtual option, so regardless of where you are, you can participate. And, as with the “traditional” Polar Plunge, have fun with it! Wear whatever clothes you want – and maybe a fun mask! “Remember to bundle up,” Peters said. “We had some people who wore tutus over their snowsuits.”

Special Olympics will also host a slew of exciting events throughout February in Wisconsin, which you can find here. You can also opt to “Cheer on a Champion,” or support a locally based athlete. Learn more about your local athlete here.

For more information about Special Olympics’ Polar Plunge and this year’s pivot, visit