By Matt Kroschel

EVERGREEN, Colo. (CBS4)– Chainsaws cut away blocks of solid ice making way for an icy pool, just big enough for hundreds of people to take a leap into the water this New Year’s Day.

“Crazy wouldn’t even start to describe it, it is so, so cold,” one young participant in the 8th annual Evergreen Lake Plunge told CBS4’s Matt Kroschel.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

A 10-foot by 10-foot area, four to five feet deep was cut out of the ice and equipped with a platform, ladder and the Evergreen Fire Department’s water rescue personnel to ensure everyone’s safety.

CBS4's Matt Kroschel interviews a young lake plunge participant (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Matt Kroschel interviews a young lake plunge participant (credit: CBS)

Photo Gallery of the Evergreen Lake Plunge

Some participants wore costumes while others wore their bathing suits to take the plunge into the 40-degree water. Then they quickly exited and took a 200-yard run in the snow to a warming hut.

CBS4's Alan Gionet emceed the Evergreen Lake Plunge 2016 (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Alan Gionet emceed the Evergreen Lake Plunge 2016 (credit: CBS)

They were entertained and distracted from the frigid temperatures by CBS4’s Alan Gionet, an Evergreen resident and emcee for the event.

The annual event raises funds for Drive Smart and the Evergreen Park & Recreation District Special Needs Program.

On Friday 275 people took the plunge and helped raise $16,000.

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

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