Lake Champlain Winter Swimming with the Red Hot Chilly Dippers
January 29, 2021
Katharine Montstream is a Burlington artist known for her colorful paintings, prints, and cards of Camel’s Hump, Warren Falls, downtown Burlington, and Lake Champlain.
And on a daily basis in the winter, you can also find her taking a dip with friends in the icy waters of Lake Champlain.
-Katharine Montstream walks into Lake Champlain for a swim on a January afternoon.
Montstream is a driving force behind the Red Hot Chilly Dippers, a group of women and men who meet at Oakledge Park, Perkins Pier, or the Burlington Waterfront for Lake Champlain winter swimming adventures.
Even when it’s 15 degrees out, most members of the Red Hot Chilly Dippers are wearing bikinis, one-piece bathing suits, or swim shorts as they plunge into the lake.
“There’s so much research that says (winter swimming) will boost your immune system. It helps with dementia and it’s a cure for depression,” Montstream says. “I can certainly believe that because you feel different when you come out. You feel supercharged, and it’s definitely a great feeling.”
Lake Champlain is one of Montstream’s favorite places to find inspiration. She’s documenting the group’s Lake Champlain winter swimming outings with photos and videos. She plans to host an exhibit this fall with paintings based on the experience.
You can follow the Red Hot Chilly Dippers on Instagram.
Happy Vermont Podcast: Lake Champlain Winter Swimming
-Katharine Montstream, left, and members of the Red Hot Chilly Dippers after a morning swim in January at Oakledge Park in Burlington.
In this podcast episode of Happy Vermont, Katharine Montstream talks about the rewards of Lake Champlain winter swimming and how the activity makes her feel.