Supporting Our Communities

Polar Plunge goes virtual to fundraise for Alaska’s athletes

GCI teams up with Special Olympics Alaska to present alternative to frozen Goose Lake jump

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Special Olympics Alaska (SOAK) and GCI will open up the famous Polar Plunge to Alaskans across the state this fall – this year with a special twist. The event traditionally takes place at Goose Lake in Anchorage each December, but this year, the organizations encourage Alaskans statewide to take the “plunge” through virtual challenges. Special Olympics Alaska and GCI invite Alaskans to join them in “Freezin’ for a Reason.”

This year marks 12 years of the beloved Polar Plunge event to raise funds for SOAK. Each year, participants would fundraise a certain amount to take the plunge into frozen Goose Lake in Anchorage. This year, Alaskans who would like to help raise money for Alaska’s athletes can take the “plunge” at home, and challenge their friends, family and neighbors to do the same.

“Special Olympics Alaska is an amazing organization that we’ve supported for many years. We’ve set our sights high this year – we’re aiming to get 10,000 people statewide involved with the virtual Polar Plunge,” said GCI Senior Vice President of Consumer Services Paul Landes. “We hope Alaskans join us in taking the plunge for the athletes.”

SOAK and GCI are encouraging Alaskans to take part by registering for the 2020 Polar Plunge online, collecting pledges, and then taking the plunge by pouring a bucket of ice water over their head, jumping into a kiddie pool or wearing their clothes in a locker room shower—get creative! All of these challenges will be in place of jumping into Goose Lake in Anchorage. Should someone be nominated and choose to not take the Plunge, they are asked to donate to SOAK.

Those who accept the challenge are to follow these steps:

  1. Register for the event;
  2. Raise money for SOAK. Those who raise at least $125 will receive special swag;
  3. Record and post their accepted challenge to social media using the hashtag #PolarPlungeAlaska;
  4. Challenge three friends to do the same.

“While the traditional event will be missed this year, we’re looking forward to reaching more Alaskans than ever by bringing the event to them. With the generous support from Alaskans, we are able to keep our doors open and athletes competing, developing new skills and making friendships,” said Special Olympics Alaska CEO Sue Perles. “We’re grateful to have partners like GCI who work alongside us as we navigate these tough times.”

In addition to the Polar Plunge, GCI and SOAK executives are also announcing a Polar Un-Plunge challenge. GCI’s Paul Landes and SOAK CEO Sue Perles will be staking the yards of businesses they would like to challenge to get their sign “un-plunged.” When the signs are discovered, the recipient must make a donation to SOAK to “un-plunge” the sign from their yard and plunge it in another business yard, continuing the chain.

To donate to SOAK or to find more information about registering for the 2020 Polar Plunge, please visit
GCI is one of Alaska’s leaders in corporate philanthropy, donating approximately $2 million each year in cash, products and connectivity to organizations across the state. GCI is committed to giving back to the communities it serves and provides employees with 16 hours of paid leave to volunteer with local organizations. In 2019, nearly 550 GCI employees volunteered more than 5,300 hours. GCI proudly joins Special Olympics Alaska in making community its focus and committing to healthy futures for all.

About GCI

GCI provides data, mobile, video, voice and managed services to consumer, business, government, and carrier customers throughout Alaska, serving more than 200 communities. The company has invested substantially more than $3 billion in its Alaska network and facilities. Most recently, GCI launched true standards-based 5G NR service in Anchorage, now the nation’s northernmost 5G service area.

Headquartered in Alaska, GCI has delivered services for more than 40 years to some of the most remote communities and in some of the most challenging conditions in North America. GCI employs nearly 2,000 Alaskans. Learn more about GCI at GCI is a wholly owned subsidiary of GCI Liberty, Inc. (Nasdaq: GLIBA, GLIBP). Learn more about GCI Liberty

About Special Olympics Alaska

Special Olympics Alaska provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness to demonstrate courage, to experience joy and to participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.