Last year, Powder Magazine came up with the awesome idea of combining North America’s biggest and best pond skimming events into a giant circuit. Unfortunately from what we can tell, the world cup didn’t form again for the 2016-17 season BUT the events themselves are still going down hot and heavy!
What is a Pond Skim?
Before we ‘jump’ into the best pond skimming events, let’s explain what it is. It’s a competition or rite of passage as some would describe it. Contestants ski or snowboard into a frigid pool or ‘pond’ with the goal of skimming across to the other side. Typically, these events are held at the end of the season when the sun is warm, the snowpack is deep and the parties are wild!
Best Pond Skimming Events (Order by Date)
Now that we’ve got you excited and in the know, it’s time for some fun in the sun. So the next question to answer is “What are the biggest, baddest, & best events happening across North America?”
Pond Skimming (Sugarbush)
Longest Pond in North America
Date: April 8, 2017
Spring is a time of contrasts in Vermont. One day it might snow and the next, the dirt mountain roads become ‘slop’ during the infamous mud season. Those hearty East Coasters always seem to take it in stride. Makes sense that this would be where the OLDEST continuously running pond skimming event in the United States would exist. Adding to that, the Sugarbush event also claims to have the longest stretch of water to skim in North America. How long you ask? 120 feet!!! That’s like a 12 story building.
Big Sky Pond Skim (Big Sky)
Most Creative Setup
Date: April 15, 2017
Big Sky is by far the most creative on the list. In 2011, the course contained two successive pools on the slope with a small area of snow between them. Then in 2014, there were two side-by-side water pools, one with a jump next to it and another with a long rail across it. If the past is any indicator, the 2017 edition will be just as off-the-wall and fun! No matter if your attempting to skim or just spectating, chances are you’ll be blown away. Just beware that if you do spectate, there’s a good chance you’ll get ‘hosed’ from the water spraying into the crowd.
Red Bull Slopesoakers (Copper Mountain)
Pond Skim meets Slopestyle
Date: April 15, 2017
Leave it to Red Bull to take the pond skimming concept and apply their own style to it. First, over a 150 competitors are allowed to take on the course. Second, take two parts pond skim, one part slopestyle, mix it all together and VOILA! You have the Slopesoakers contest. Filled with a plethora of obstacles, on and over water, this is definitely a can’t-miss event.
15th annual World Pond Skimming Championships (Vail)
Spoof on the World Alpine Championship
Date: April 16, 2017
The first thing you’ll think when you read the title of World Pond Skimming Championships is “Who crowned this event with such a big name?” Well, it started as a spoof on the World Alpine Championship way back in 1999. Now as part of the ‘Spring Back to Vail’ Festival, this is a rowdy event filled with thousands of spectators. If you aren’t into skimming, don’t worry. There’s music, fun, and all kinds of other happenings going around to close out their season. And if you do want to try, winners receive a pair of Liberty skis and a 2018 Epic Pass.
27th Annual Cushing Crossing (Squaw Valley)
Done on an actual pond
Date: April 22, 2017
This pond skimming event is across a REAL pond named Lake Cushing, located just below the Gold Coast lift. The event is the brainchild of Jean Hagan, the woman in charge at the Squaw Valley Beer Garden. Jean and her staff plus Tom O’Neil of Olympic Plaza and a group of ski bums cobbled together that year’s first event. Twenty eight years later, this event is still bumping along just as wild as the first one! With the proposed base to base gondola station aimed smack dab in the middle of the pond, the original venue might have a limited amount of time before it moves.
Springfest Pond Skim (Stevens Pass)
Chuck-A-Duck, Dummy Downhill & More
Date: April 23, 2017
Not to be outdone by the other pond skimming events, the PNW Wonderland resort, Stevens Pass, holds their Springfest on the last weekend of the season. Besides the pond skim, they also have a dummy downhill race and a Chuck-a-Duck. The dummy downhill is like the demolition derby of skiing with chaos, mayhem and of course fun. The Chuck-a-Duck contest is where you attempt to throw a duck into a target out in the pond. The first five ducks to make it earn a FREE season pass for the 2017-18 season! You’ll get 1 ducky for $5 or 5 for $20. All proceeds go to the Outdoors for All non-profit.
89th annual Sunshine Village’s Slush Cup
The oldest Spring fest in North America
Date: May 22, 2017
Yes, you read that right! In it’s 89th installment, this could be considered the grandfather of all spring events. Started by a couple of rowdy skiers in 1928 named Cliff Whyte and Cyril Paris, they discovered that fires and logging had created ready-made ski slopes all around Banff. After skiing deep powder all winter long, these ski bums, along with their buddies, gathered to celebrate the snow-melt runoff and started what has become a tradition for finishing off the long ski season in Banff. Makes sense why we put these two resorts in our top 10 for spring skiing.