Daily ice baths garner worldwide attention for Alberta man

EDMONTON — An Alberta man has set out to experience winter in a way that only a true Canadian could appreciate, and it’s gaining attention worldwide.

Back in 2018, John Mark Earle intended to take ice baths once a week to raise money for the Peace River food bank, but he thought it was so cool it became a hobby.

“I thought what better way to face winter than just to experience it fully, and this is a good way to do that,” he told CTV News Edmonton.

He started taking weekly dips to raise money for the local food bank, but he soon found the he enjoyed the frigid dips.

“In between Sundays, some part of me wanted to do it again!”

So he started taking the baths several times a week. When the water froze, he just a cut a hole in the ice and kept going.

The pandemic hasn’t slowed him down either. Since the temperatures started cooling down, he’s gone every day since October. He usually stays in for 10 minutes at a time.

“The water is so cold it actually feels like fire, like burning on your skin.”

He follows the ice baths with a warm up next to a fire, and sometimes friends or family come to join him.

He’s been documenting his adventures on Instagram, where he’s been gaining a worldwide following. The Outdoor Swimming Society in the United Kingdom has even made him an official representative.

“That was a real unexpected honour,” he said.

He even plans on swimming a mile in the icy water wearing only a swimsuit, swim cap and goggles.

He says his endeavours not only make him feel better, but have given him a new outlook on life.

“There are so many things we have to face that are uncomfortable, whether things we put ourselves into or things that come up expectantly, and it’s really hard to maintain your composure, your state of mind and to just kind of power through, and this is practice I can do every day that honestly makes me better at facing everything in my life.”

His goal is to take 150 ice baths in a row this winter. 

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Graham Neil

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