If you’ve ever watched a gender-confused gorilla on snow blades glide over—or crash into—an icy pool to the delight of a jubilant crowd, and, thought, “boy, I wish I could be like them,” it’s time you took the plunge (pun intended). For tips on how to receive the most amount of cheers, laughs and high fives, check out our guide to pond skimming—skiing’s silliest spring pastime.
Some important questions to ask yourself for ultimate pond-skimming success:
Do I need to sign up?
There’s one important caveat you need to know before you get all excited about pond skimming this season. You’re going to want to make sure you can get on the contest list. It would be a real shame if you showed up on your snow bike, wearing just a speedo, water wings and sunglasses only to find out the list is full.
What will my technique be?
Remember, it’s not always about getting across the pond. You can make that your goal if you want to move onto the next round and maybe even get on the podium, but if you’re looking for the loudest cheers, make sure you’re producing a big splash. Here are some tried and true techniques to make the crowd go wild:
This technique is called “Tips First” and is a sure way to catapult yourself face first into the icy waters. | Photo: Big Sky Resort
“Airplane Arms” makes for safe landings at the end of the pond and improves aerodynamics. | Photo: Keystone/Vail Resorts
The “Tandem” maneuver requires two sets of bindings on one pair of skis, making it a popular technique among ski techs. | Photo: CBMR
The graceful “Ski Jump” maneuver is a tested method for making it across the pond and earning style points. | Photo: Keystone/Vail Resorts
“The Flying Monkey” is visually tantalizing and typically produces magnificent splashes. | Photo: Keystone/Vail Resorts
The “Powder Wedge” is a successful technique for snow and water. | Photo: Killington Resort
“The Gorilla” is a great way for tall skimmers to lower their center of gravity. | Photo: Steamboat Resort
“The Backflip” is the ultimate pond skimming crowd pleaser. When completed, this technique typically earns the loudest cheers and a spot on the podium. | Photo: Vail Resorts
We call this one “The Backslap,” the sloppy cousin of “The Backflip.” | Photo: Vail Resorts
The “Selfie” technique will earn you style points on your Facebook wall, but the jury is still out on how pond skimming judges feel about this contemporary maneuver. | Photo: Banff Sunshine Village
This challenging technique is called “The Threesome” and is only recommended if you really trust your partners. | Photo: Big Sky Resort
What am I wearing?
Truth be told, the duds you choose to wear while pond skimming can really make or break the decibel of cheering you’ll receive. Making it across or yard sale-ing into the pond is immensely more enjoyable to watch if the skimmer is wearing something completely ridiculous. Here are some inspirational examples:
“Public Message” costumes are always a great way to get the crowd going. | Photo: Killington Resort
Water wings or floaties provide additional safety and the finishing touches on a “Scuba Steve” theme. | Photo: Copper Mountain
A “Random Collection” costume tells the crowd you’re a true individual. | Photo: Mammoth Mountain
The “Beach Babe” costume is a shoo-in for loud cheers. | Photo: Mammoth Mountain
Closing-day festivities typically fall around Easter. Showing your support of the Easter Bunny is bound to get some cheers, especially from the youngest spectators. | Photo: Vail Resorts
The “Patriotic Symbol” costumes will often produce the loudest applause. | Photo: Mammoth Mountain
“Bridal” costumes get plenty of stares on water, like they do on land. | Photo: Mammoth Mountain
Everyone loves an “American Superhero.” | Photo: Mammoth Mountain
What equipment am I skimming on?
Equipment rules and regulations vary by resort, but for the most part you can apply the rule: if it slides on snow I’m good to go! This includes skis, snowboards, split-boards, mono-boards, telemark skis, toboggans, sleds, surfboards, snow blades, snow scooters and, our personal favorite, snow bikes.
The surf is always up at Crested Butte’s Slush Huck/Pond Skim, dude. | Photo: CBMR
We love snow biking, too and recommend wearing a biking chamois when snow-bike skimming. | Photo: CBMR
Snow scooters are taking the pond-skimming world by storm. | Photo: CBMR
Snowblades have a lower swing weight than traditional skis, making it easier to spin and get yourself into all sorts of wacky positions. | Photo: CBMR
Where should I pond skim?
Many resorts, from your hometown hill to the world’s most renowned ski destinations, hold end-of-season pond-skimming contests, but here are the resorts that have a reputation for attracting the largest crowds and loudest cheers, i.e. they’re the “big time” of pond skimming.
Vail 13th annual World Pond Skimming Championships–April 19, 2017
Big Sky Resort Pond Skim–April 15, 2017
Where to stay: The 4-star Summit at Big Sky provides a variety of room configurations and convenient ski in ski out access.
Banff Sunshine Village 89th Annual Slush Cup–May 22, 2017
Where to stay: For reasonably priced accommodations and all the comforts of home, the Lake Louise Inn is a win.
Squaw Valley 27th Annual Cushing Crossing–May 5, 2017
Every year for 27 years, Squaw locals and spring-skiing visitors alike gather for this incredible spectacle. A celebrity judging panel selects winners, which typically has a lot to do with big, impressive tricks and even bigger splashes.
Photo: Squaw Valley
Where to stay: Make your spring stay even better with village and slopeside out access and incredible amenities, like an outdoor pool and hot tub, at the Plumpjack.
Killington Nor’Beaster :: Pond Skimming–April 15, 2017
Where to stay: Enjoy complimentary shuttle access to the slopes and home-away-from-home features like stone fireplaces and en suite washer/dryers when staying at the Highridge Condominiums.
Copper Mountain 6th annual Red Bull SlopeSoakers–April 15, 2017
Where to stay: You’re just a short walk from the Super Bee high-speed six-pack chairlift at the Copper Springs Neighborhood, where you’ll enjoy two outdoor hot tubs and access to the Copper Athletic Club.
Mammoth Mountain Pond Skim 2015–April 16, 2017
Where to stay: Enjoy true ski in ski out access and onsite services like a rental shop and complimentary town shuttle as a guest at the Mammoth Mountain Inn.
Steamboat 10th annual Splashdown Pond Skimming Championships–April 16, 2017
Where to stay: You can watch all the pond skimming action right from the Sheraton Steamboat Resort ground, which is Steamboat’s only full-service ski in ski out resort.
Crested Butte LandShark Pond Skim–April 8, 2017
Where to stay: Situated just 200 yards from the lifts, the Grand Lodge provides affordable, spacious accommodations and easy access to the all the base-area shenanigans.
Keystone Slush Cup–April 9, 2017
Where to stay: Centrally located between River Run and Keystone Village, Inn at Keystone offers awesome mountain views from its rooftop hot tub. There are 103 dog-friendly, comfortable rooms to choose from.
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.