The Secret to Russia’s Power

Hamish Macdonald
The Secret to Russia’s Power

During the long, cold and dark days of winter in Russia, not everyone is concerned with staying warm. In fact, we found one group that takes advantage of the icy, bone-chilling winter. And why not?

Every weekend, they practically bare it all to take a refreshing, cool dip in a frozen lake. That’s right - so frozen, that they have to cut out a huge block of ice just to make the pool. The weekend devotees claim that the cool dip improves circulation, detoxes the body and increases energy and vitality.

This weekend ritual isn’t for the faint of heart. Irene, a regular ice-swimmer credits Russia’s power to the extreme activity. “That’s why we’re powerful,” she says with a laugh, “because we’re crazy.”

It took some coaxing for ABC’s Hamish Macdonald to bare his swim trunks and take the plunge. A few seconds later, he turns into Michael Phelps - doing the butterfly, showing off for his new Russian friends. But a second dip? Not so fast…

ABC News' Stefan Doyno and Maurice Abbate contributed to this episode.