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The Art of Pond Skimming

By March 24, 2010

Okemo Slush Cup

The Pond Skim. The Slush Cup. The Water Ride. Call it what you like, pond skimming at ski resorts is a spring tradition that dates back decades. For the uninitiated, pond skimming involves brave skiers and snowboarders attempting to cross a long, cold, often slush-filled pond; the objective being to make it to the other side without getting wet. Some achieve this objective, but the majority do not. And therein lies the entertainment value inherent in pond skimming!

I don't know when the first pond skimming contest (exhibition? event?) was held, but I do know that for many years, snowboarders were not among those participating, mainly because snowboarding had yet to be invented. Once snowboarding came along, however, the pond skim crown was permanently wrestled from the hands of skiers worldwide. The larger surface area of a snowboard lends surfboard like capabilities, with the added bonus of eliminating the dreaded "split-to-faceplant" suffered by so many unprepared skiers.

Of course, this doesn't mean that the snowboarder always makes it across the pond. I've witnessed many riders fail, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's a lack of speed (HINT: Wax your board beforehand!), while other times it's because they failed to keep the board going straight, or they leaned too far over the nose. However it happens, getting wet is definitely not pleasurable - the water is cold, and snowboard boots take a long time to dry out!

If pond skimming in all its glory is something that interests you this spring, be sure to check out the events calendar at your local resort. Most ski resorts hold pond skimming events, often with very low entry fees. Costumes are always encouraged, as is bribing the judges. Wetsuits are optional (although not a half bad idea!).

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